HYDERABAD: A 36-year-old businessman, P Ram Reddy, died in the custody of the Miyapur Police early Sunday, just a few hours after he was detained in an extortion case. The victim’s family members alleged foul play but the police claimed he was an alcoholic and suggested he could have died due to non-availability of the same in custody.
Ram Reddy, a native of Aluru in Nellore district, had a criminal background, said Kukkatpally assistant commissioner of police PV Padmaja. Three of his associates were caught extorting money from a flour mill owner-cum-builder Nagarjuna Rao of Madinaguda.
Based on their confession, Ram Reddy was nabbed at the Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station at 10 p.m. on Saturday.
“He tried to flee but was caught. He was brought to the police station immediately and the night duty subinspector went out for patrolling,’’ the ACP said.
According to the police, around 4 a.m, Ram Reddy complained of uneasiness and he was rushed to a nearby private hospital where he died around 5.30 a.m while undergoing treatment.
A police official said Ram Reddy was a chronic alcoholic and attributed his death to the non-availability of alcohol. “He behaved in a weird manner as he did not get alcohol. He even tried to smash his head to the wall and created a ruckus,’’ an official claimed.
Ram Reddy was picked up in a case registered on April 11 by a certain Nagarjuna Rao. Three of his associates, Vikas, Sandeep and Rohit, were caught by the employees of Nagarjuna Rao when they went to extort Rs 10 lakh from him.
Police investigation revealed that Ram Reddy had worked with Nagarjuna Rao five years back in the city. After quitting his job in 2009, Ram Reddy had asked Nagarjuna Rao to help him purchase a house.
On the pretext of purchasing the property, Ram Reddy took the businessman to Qutbullapur and mid-way, three of his associates joined him. The accused took Nagarjuna Rao to Bowenpally, tortured him and made him call up his family members to arrange Rs 25 lakh and after the amount was paid, he was freed.
Fearing threat to his life, Nagarjuna Rao did not complain to the police.
But taking advantage of this, Ram Reddy extorted another Rs 15 lakh from him in the next two years.
On April 11, Ram Reddy sent his associates to collect another Rs 10 lakh but Nagarjuna Rao declined and after a scuffle, the gang members were caught, the police said.
Padmaja said a case of custodial death under Section 176 of the CrPC was registered and Ram Reddy’s body was shifted to the Gandhi hospital for postmortem.
Ram Reddy’s family members, however, claimed he had died due to police torture.
Ram Reddy’s father Srinivasulu Reddy is a retired government lecturer.