Led by TPCC President and MP N Uttam Kumar Reddy, a delegation of Congress leaders today met Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan at the Raj Bhavan to demand a CBI probe into the gruesome murders of two lawyers
, Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife P V Nagamani, that took place in Peddapalli earlier this month.
Speaking at the meeting, Uttam Kumar Reddy said, "Vaman Rao and Nagamani were hacked to death by TRS activists in broad daylight in Peddapalli on February 17. The lawyer couple, known for filing PILs against many powerful individuals including some TRS leaders, had also filed one about the alleged custodial death of a Dalit, Seelam Rangaiah, in the Manthani police station under the Ramagundam Police Commissionerate. During one of the last hearings of the matter at the Telangana High Court, Vaman Rao, the counsel in the PIL plea filed by Nagamani, stated that both he and his wife were being pressured to drop the case and that they were being implicated falsely in a number of cases to coerce them into doing so. He even said that they were receiving threatening phone calls from the police and various other powerful individuals. This indicates that the two lawyers were killed to silence them."
"It is a chilling reflection of the law and order situation of the state that two people were murdered in broad daylight, in full public view. So it is only natural that neither the Congress nor the people of the state are any longer able to trust its law enforcement agencies - nobody believes that the police will carry out a fair and neutral investigation of the double-murder. Thus, we urge you to order a court-monitored CBI investigation into the matter at the earliest, to ensure that the two victims get justice," he added.
Following their meeting with the Governor, the Congress leaders also met Telangana Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy and requested him to expedite the investigation.
The delegation told the DGP that the police administration had colluded with senior police officials, who were acting at the behest of the ruling party's leaders, and were trying to "suppress facts" pertaining to the murders and "tampering with evidence" to keep the truth behind the killings from coming out.
The Congress leaders then requested the DGP to take the necessary steps to ensure the protection of the family of the two victims. The DGP reportedly responded positively to the requests.
Congress MLC T Jeevan Reddy, MLAs Sridhar Babu and Jagga Reddy, TPCC SC Department Chairman N Preetam and senior leader Annaiah Goud were also part of the delegation.
Speaking to the media later in the day, the TPCC head alleged that the accused in the lawyers' killings were reportedly close to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, and that the local police were trying to shield the TRS leaders involved in the grisly incident.
He claimed that there was "a larger conspiracy" behind the murders which needed to be exposed, and said, "The lawyer couple's murder is directly linked to the Manthani custodial death case, which, in turn, is linked to the state's sand mafia which is backed by some of the most prominent TRS leaders. The local police are trying to suppress the real facts of the murders to protect the leaders who are involved in the dastardly incident. Even Ramagundam Commissioner of Police V Satyanarayana is acting like an agent of the ruling party. Keeping these facts in mind, we have appealed to Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to order a court-monitored CBI investigation into the incident. We will also be writing a letter to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India S A Bobde, President of the Bar Council of India Manan Kumar Mishra and other authorities regarding the attack on lawyer couple."
He then made clear his belief that although the state's apex court had directed the Telangana police to submit a report on the killings by March 1, the local police could not be trusted as they were either close to the ruling party, or victims to the pressures being exerted by its leaders, and were, therefore, likely to sweep the real facts of the case under the rug.
"The CM did not issue a single statement condemning the attack, and with this omission, he has sent a dangerous message to the criminals and anti-social elements of the state - that they can carry on doing whatever and killing whoever. KCR's conspicuous silence on the matter will also encourage the sand, property and mines mafias to establish their control in Telangana using murder as a tool with which to instil fear among the people of the state," Reddy added.
"However, this twisted nexus between the anti-social elements and the ruling party will not last long as the TRS is very likely to lose power in the 2023 elections in the state. The party's leaders will then no longer be able to weaken the judiciary with their wheeling-dealing ways," he added.
Ever since news of the two murders has come out, the Congress has consistently maintained that the TRS is, in some way, responsible for the incident. The TPCC chief had even made a statement
saying exactly so.