AMARAVATI: The Vijayawada Police have arrested 13 accused in connection with the murder of Sandeep during the recent sensational gang-war. Sandeep, a former history-sheeter, succumbed to injuries received in the gang-war even as speculation is rife that he was drawn into the fight as part of a well-planned murder plot. Many startling revelations are coming out of the ugly clash which sent shock waves across the city.
The police have also arrested 10 persons owing allegiance to Sandeep’s group. The gangs of Sandeep and his friend-turned-enemy Pandu fought a pitched battle using knives, sticks and stones at an open place on the Donka Road of Patamata area in Vijayawada on Sunday last.
While the settlement of a land dispute is reported to have led to the gang war, there are several other theories doing the rounds on the motives behind the incident. One of them says that the two were involved in a simmering turf war for quite some time and that the differences only reached a flashpoint leading to the fight. According to police, Sandeep, who could not digest the presence of Manikanta Alias KTM Pandu during a meeting meant for the land settlement, had a heated argument with the latter over phone.
The two exchanged threats during this conversation and challenged each other to face off to settle their scores. Following this, it is learnt that Pandu decided to pull a fast one on Sandeep by planning to attack his rival right in his hardware shop on Sunday morning. He, along with his gang, in fact lay in ambush at Sandeep’s shop but had to beat a retreat seeing the Bluecoats police vehicle patrolling the area with its sirens blaring at that time.
But as both Sandeep and Pandu kept provoking each other, the two gangs descended on the open place in Patamata and broke into the clash in the evening. Even though Sandeep died of the deep cuts he sustained on his neck during the fight, his family believes it was a well-planned cold-blooded murder carried out in the guise of a gang war.
The police on their part are probing the case in every aspect after detaining the henchmen of both Sandeep and Pandu. The police are yet to arrest Pandu as he is currently under treatment for the grievous injuries he received in the incident. Pandu and his gang members have been booked under Sections 143, 148, 302, 307, 324 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).
About 10 rowdy-sheeters are among the arrested including Mekathoti Kiran Kumar, Akunathi Venkata Raghunath alias AVS. The police made these arrests after closely watching the video footage that went viral and also after questioning other suspects in the incident.
TDP Associate Naga Babu Under Police Scanner
The role of Naga Babu, a realtor who enjoys close connections and considerable clout among the leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), is also being probed in connection with the gang war.
The Vijayawada police said that Nagababu was notorious for his mediation in a variety of illegal activities during the previous TDP regime. Using his contacts within the TDP, Naga Babu used to get many land disputes settled in the presence of a former minister from the district besides another powerful leader from the city. He would thrive on the commissions he used to receive for these settlements.
Since the time he started settlements on his own, Naga Babu allegedly began using the services of both Sandeep and Pandu for this purpose. Naga Babu was the one who has reportedly arranged a meeting between Sridhar and Pradeep Reddy, who had an issue with regard to their residential apartment complex venture. Police claim that Naga Babu used both Sandeep and Pandu for organizing rowdy-sheeters as hired goons for ruthlessly ‘enforcing’ settlements in land disputes.
Against this backdrop, Naga Babu reportedly invited Sandeep to settle a land dispute pertaining to Sridhar and Pradeep Reddy's real estate venture in Yanamalakuduru. While Pradeep Reddy has roped in Pandu, Sandeep could not stomach his arch-rival’s presence there, leading to their quarrel on the phone and eventually to the fatal gang fight.