Anantapur: A family of three elderly persons was allegedly sacrificed and their blood offered to a Shiva lingam at Korthikota village under Tanakal manal in Anantapur district early on Monday.
The victims were identified as Shivarami Reddy, retired instructor at an ITI college, his wife Kamalamma, 70 and his sister Satyalakshmi, 70. Kadiri DSP B. Srinivasulu said Shivarami Reddy was working to renovate the centuries-old Shivalayam on the outskirts of Korthikota soon after his retirement. He used to spend most of his time at the temple, along with his wife. His sister Satyala-kshmi arrived from Bengaluru to support her brother in the renovation effort. The trio was sleeping in the temple on Sunday night when alleged treasure hunters attacked them. The gang was reportedly searching for ancient treasure believed hidden in the temple, a popular myth in these areas.
The gang reportedly slit the throats of Shivarami Reddy, Kamalamma and Satyalakshmi and collected their blood in vessels. The blood was offered as rakthabhishekam to the lingam in the temple and smeared around the temple premises.
It is suspected that the gang performed the sacrifice before they began hunting for the treasure they believed was hidden there.
Kadiri DSP A. Srinivasulu told Deccan Chronicle that they were suspecting role of treasure-hunters.
A CLUES teams was pressed into service to help gather evidence.
Superintendent of police Satya Esubabu said four special teams were formed to nab the killers and they have been sent to other areas in Rayalaseema and to Telangana state and Karnataka. The bodies were shifted to the Kadiri hospital for post-mortem.