Unable to accept that his only daughter had married a Dalit and was also expecting a child, T Maruthi Rao promised to pay a gang led by Asghar Ali, who was acquitted in the Haren Pandya murder case, Rs 1 crore to kill his daughter’s husband.
Rao, who belongs to an upper-caste, was arrested on September 14 with six others for the murder of P Pranay Kumar and told police that he was riled by the photos and videos that his daughter Amruta Varshini posted on social media. Pranay (30) was stabbed to death in front of Amruta in Miryalaguda town of Nalgonda district in Telangana on September 14.
According to police, the “last straw” for Rao was his daughter’s grand wedding reception on August 17, after which he decided to eliminate Pranay so that his daughter would return to him.
“He said that his love for his daughter turned into an obsession to get her back into the family and he was willing to do anything. When he learnt that she was pregnant, he tried to convince her through relatives to get an abortion saying she is too young and should concentrate on her career. When that failed, he decided to eliminate Pranay which he thought may force her to return home,” said Nalgonda SP A V Ranganath.
Rao, an influential real estate developer, contacted Abdul Kareem, Miryalaguda Town Congress President saying that he wanted to hire a contract killer. According to police, Kareem put him in touch with Asghar Ali, who has a long criminal record in Nalgonda. Ali was also arrested in connection with the murder of Gujarat minister Haren Pandya, who was shot dead on March 26, 2003, outside Law Garden in Ahmedabad while he was sitting in his car after a morning walk.
After months of investigation, the Gujarat Police arrested Asghar Ali and in 2007, a special court sentenced him and 11 others to life imprisonment. However, on August 29, 2011, Asghar Ali and the others were acquitted by Gujarat High Court.
When Maruti Rao contacted Ali asking for a hired killer, he contacted his childhood friend Mohammed Bari, also a notorious criminal. Bari contacted Subhash Sharma of Samastipur in Bihar who he had met at Rajahmundry Central Jail a few years ago.
Police said that Bari, Ali and Maruti Rao met twice wherein he agreed to pay Rs 1 crore to kill Pranay. Accordingly, in the first week of August, he paid an advance of Rs 16 lakhs to Bari.
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