Former ward volunteer kills elderly woman

According to police, the accused, who joined as a ward volunteer in 2019, was terminated in July for dereliction of duty.   

Published: 01st August 2023 07:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st August 2023 07:57 AM   |  A+A-

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By Express News Service

VISAKHAPATNAM: A former ward volunteer allegedly smothered a 72-year-old woman to death at her residence in Visakhapatnam on Sunday night, and decamped with gold and cash. The horrifying murder took place in Sujathanagar under Pendurthi police station limits. The accused was identified as 26-year-old Rayavarapu Venkatesh, who earlier worked as a volunteer in the 95th ward in Purushothapuram in Pendurthi. According to police, the accused, who joined as a ward volunteer in 2019, was terminated in July for dereliction of duty.   

The victim, K Varalakshmi, and her son Srinivas were living in the apartment. Srinivas has been running a fast-food stall in Purushothapuram for the past few months. Venkatesh joined Srinivas as a part-time assistant at the fast-food centre recently. Police said that Venkatesh had visited Srinivas’ house several times. 

On Sunday night, the accused entered the house at around 10 PM.“While Venkatesh was searching for the mangalasutra and other gold ornaments, Varalakshmi woke up hearing the noise in the house and identified him. The accused smothered the elderly woman to death to ensure she didn’t raise an alarm,” police said. Later, Venkatesh fled the scene with two-and-a-half tolas of gold.

Srinivas, along with his father, returned home at around 11:15 pm only to find Varalakshmi lying dead on the bed. He found gold and some cash missing from the house. Following a complaint lodged by Srinivas, the Pendurthi police examined the crime scene. With the help of CCTV footage, they identified Venkatesh and arrested him. Police recovered the stolen property from the accused’s house. A case of murder for gain was registered.

Meanwhile, the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) zonal commissioner of Zone VIII, in a statement on Monday, said Venkatesh was terminated from service on July 24 based on a probe into charges of dereliction of duty by the assistant project director of the Urban Community Development (UCD).

Ward administrative secretary of Papayyarajupalem secretariat,  R Uma Maheswara Rao, complained to the zonal commissioner of zone VIII on July 3 against Venkatesh that the latter was not attending duties regularly. The assistant project director had submitted a report on July 24, recommending Venkatesh’s termination.“Venkatesh was irregular at work and even after several warnings, he did not change his behaviour. He even failed to participate in the Jagananna Suraksha programme,’’ the statement said.

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