HYDERABAD: The otherwise peaceful environs of the KBR park in Jubilee Hills reverberated with gunfire early Wednesday when an assailant, armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, made a vain bid to abduct K Nityananda Reddy, director and vice-chairman of the city-based Aurobindo Pharma.
Reddy came out unscathed but his brother Prasad Reddy, who was with him, suffered a minor wound in the scuffle with the attacker who escaped as soon as he lost the plot. Late in the evening, top police sources confirmed to Express that the assailant was a former member of the elite anti-Naxal force, Greyhounds. It appears that he has been taken into custody. The AK-47, which he left behind in Reddy’s car, turned out to be the one stolen from the Gandipet campus of the Greyhounds in Dec last.
The sources said the accused was involved in several extortion cases and had apparently targeted Nityananda Reddy for ransom. Reddy identified the culprit when the police showed him photos of the man. The high-voltage action began around 7.30 a.m. when Nityananda Reddy got into his Audi parked about 100 metres from the park’s main gate after his usual morning walk.
“Just when I fastened my seat belt, an unidentified man barged in, pointing an AK-47 at my chest. He ordered me to start the car and said he was kidnapping me for ransom,” Reddy later told the media. “I replied I can give whatever money he wanted. During the conversation, I pushed the AK-47 barrel... but he immediately pulled the trigger and shot at the window thrice. I raised an alarm and screamed for help,” he recalled. The assailant fired eight rounds, confirmed Hyderabad Police Commissioner M Mahendar Reddy. On hearing the gunshots, Prasad Reddy, who was nearby, ran up to the car and tried to overpower the attacker.
Sensing that he could be in trouble, the assailant bit Prasad Reddy’s hand and took to his heels, leaving behind the weapon, a plastic cover and a black bag with some clothes in it.
A senior police official told Express the AK-47 must have been in semi-automatic mode. “Else, it could have sprayed as many as 30 bullets at one go,” he pointed out. Reddy is learnt to have told the police he had no enemies. Three bullet marks were found on the windshield of the car, two on the seat, and three on the road. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who made a statement on the incident in the Assembly, narrated the sequence of events and said a case under Sec 307 and 363 of the IPC (read with Sec 25 &27 of the Arms Act) was registered at the Banjara Hills police station.
As for the weapon, he said it was lost on December 26 last year and a case was booked at the Narsingi police station under Sec 408 and 380 of the IPC on Feb 3, 2014.