Hyderabad: Toddy RTI activist shot dead by rivals

He had gone to Dharmapuri to meet traders from Mumbai.

Hyderabad: A toddy merchant who had filed RTI petitions against a mafia selling adulterated toddy in Mumbai was shot dead by unidentified persons in Dharmapuri of Jagtial on Wednesday night.

Podeti Satyanarayana Goud along with his associates had gone to the town from Hyderabad to take part in a village ritual, Yellamma Patnalu. Police said he had met his former partners in toddy business from Mumbai to settle pending issues. It is suspected that an argument during the discussion that led to the murder. Satyanarayana was associated with the Congress for a few years.

Satyanarayana had filed several RTI petitions with the Maharashtra excise department over the sale of adulterated toddy and had complained about how toddy traders from different districts in Telangana state who had settled in Mumbai were selling adulterated toddy rackets.

Since then, he had been receiving threats from the toddy mafia, due to which he relocated to Mumbai. In March 2017, he met Telangana state Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy and requested protection from the toddy mafia.

In the petition he claimed that he had filed RTI applications against the toddy mafia and the government had cancelled the licenses of many persons after finding the illegal business and since then they his life was under threat. The petition was directed to the Ramagundam police commissioner for detailed inquiry and action. When contacted, the Ramagundam police denied receiving any such petition. Jagtial superintendent of police Sunil Dutt said disputes between the deceased and the toddy traders at Mumbai could be the main reason behind the murder. “We are working on the leads and tracking all the people connected with the persons whom Satyanarayana met before the incident. We will soon solve the case.” he said.

Satyanarayana hails from Ramagundam in Peddapalli district and resides in Hyderabad. A visiting card found at the spot where his body was found read that he was the state convener for the Congress OBC cell. The party did not confirm the same.

On Wednesday night, Satyanarayana along with his brother-in-law Nerella Rakesh went to Kamalapuri village under Dharmapuri police station limits to take part in the village ritual. His associates had arranged a meeting with Mumbai-based toddy traders, with whom he had issues.

After meeting one Narayana, he went to Rajesh’s residence, where the toddy traders joined him. After an hour, he, Rajesh and two others went towards Dharmapuri in their car. When they reached a liquor shop, two other men were waiting to meet them and one of them opened fire with a short weapon and fled. Police recovered three used cartridges from the spot.

Inquiries revealed that the licenses which were cancelled due to Satyanarayana’s RTI petitions, were revoked recently. To keep him away from fighting against them, the traders wanted to meet him and settle the issue and in this process, he was shot dead.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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