Karimnagar: High court advocate couple Gattu Vaman Rao (48) and Gattu Nagamani (42) were waylaid and murdered in broad daylight on Wednesday while they are travelling by car to Hyderabad from Manthani here. The incident took place at Kalvacherla under Ramgiri mandal in this district.
The lawyer couple were prominent social activists engaged in giving legal and other aid to the disadvantaged sections. They came to Peddapalli to file a petition against politician Kunta Srinivas over a temple land dispute in their native place of Gunjapadugu village in Manthani mandal.
Kunta Srinivas, the suspected assailant, was the mandal president of the ruling TRS party.
Gattu Vaman Rao and his wife were in social service activities and fighting cases under the banner of Gattu Law of Chambers. The couple provided free legal service to the poor and even distributed daily essentials to financially weak lawyers of the high court during the lockdown period.
Notably, the lawyer couple had filed a petition against the lock-up death of a Dalit, Sheelam Rangaiah in Manthani in May 2020. The death had created a sensation in the region and beyond. Hyderabad police commissioner Anjan Kumar was later appointed as inquiry officer in this case.
The lawyer couple had filed several cases against the TRS party’s Peddapalli Zilla Parishad chairman Putta Madhukar. Arguments in the cases were going on in the high court. A case about alleged ineligibility of Manthani municipal chairperson Putta Shailaja, wife of Putta Madhukar, was also being handled by the lawyer couple in the high court.
For the past few days, Vaman Rao and his wife were receiving threat calls from unknown persons demanding that they take back all the cases they had filed in the high court. Following this, the couple appealed to the Chief Justice of the high court to order the police to provide them security as their lives were in danger.
On the spot of the attack, Vaman Rao lay in a pool of blood. He was alive and informed the locals who ran in there that “Kunta Srinivas attacked us and escaped from the scene.” The locals shifted the couple to the Peddapalli hospital, but they were dead before arrival at the hospital. The driver of Vaman Rao’s car ran away from the scene.
Police commissioner V. Satyanarayana said the murder took place around 2.30pm opposite to the petrol bunk near Kalvacherla. The assailants lay in wait there in a Creta car that did not have a number plate. They stopped Vaman Rao’s car, pulled him out of the vehicle and stabbed him repeatedly.
They also attacked his wife Nagamani when she tried to save her husband.
A case was registered against Kunta Srinivas and some others. They were absconding, police said, adding that six special teams were now on a manhunt to arrest Kunta Srinu and his gang-members.
A dispute existed between Vaman Rao and Kunta Srinivas over the ownership of a temple land in Gunjapadugu village. The Bar association members of Peddapalli district as also former minister and Congress party MLA from Manthani assembly segment Duddila Sridhar Babu condemned the murders and demanded that the police arrest the culprits.