A day after a man set a Telangana mandal revenue officer (MRO) on fire after she refused to entertain his pleas, police on Tuesday said the attacker was not a farmer, but an auto-rickshaw driver who was trying to recover the land his father had sold off a decade ago.
On Monday, Kura Suresh met Abdullapurmet MRO P Vijaya Reddy to get the land registered in his name. After she refused, Suresh allegedly poured petrol on the officer and burnt her to death. Reddy’s driver, S Gururatnam, tried to save her but he too succumbed to his injuries Tuesday morning.
Suresh, who suffered 60 per cent burns when he poured petrol on Reddy, is also critical.
Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat told The Indian Express that Gururatnam was severely burnt when he tried to save the officer. “He is from Suryapet and we are making arrangements to send the body to his native place. The accused Suresh is also critical and we have not been able to question him…’’ he said.
Officials said Suresh’s name does not figure in any of the land records that were found in the MRO’s office.
A police officer said, “Suresh was not a farmer as he had been claiming in front of officials at the MRO office. He was an auto-rickshaw driver and a resident of Gowreli village. His father had sold off four of the seven acres he owned in neighbouring Bacharam about 10 years ago. The remaining three acres of land is in the possession of his brother. However, Suresh thinks he is the rightful owner of the land that has been sold… He was pressuring the MRO to re-register the land in his name, which she refused.”
Police said the MRO had last week told him not to pester her with his demands. “She told him to approach the court if he thought the land belonged to him, even though his father had sold it off,’’ an official of the Abdullapurmet MRO office said. The official said that when she entered the MRO’s office on Monday, which is the grievance redressal day, she saw Suresh arguing with Reddy. “I never thought he would come prepared to kill her in such a ghastly manner,’’ she said.
Bhaskar Bargila, a contract worker at the MRO office, said Reddy had returned from a court hearing and asked her peon to start sending people to meet her. “After a few minutes, this man (Suresh) entered and there was some shouting, and within a few seconds I saw someone in flames running out of the MRO office and fall at the door… We tried to douse the flames using a blanket but she (Reddy) collapsed and died on the spot. Suresh also ran out of the office covered in flames,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Reddy’s funeral procession on Tuesday saw a large gathering.