NALGONDA: Maruthi Rao had planned the murder meticulously. It was decided that after the incident, Asghar Ali, Abdul Bari and Subhash Sharma would go into hiding and after a few days, Asghar Ali and Subhash Sharma would surrender to the police claiming only the two of them were involved in the murder. Rao did not reveal the plan thinking he would tell others about it after the murder. Luck, however, played against him.
Soon after the murder, Bari called Rao and told him the ‘work’ had been completed. Immediately after, Rao’s daughter Amruthavarshini called him to report her husband’s murder. Following this, Rao panicked and switched off his mobile phone while the other three members were waiting for his instructions on what to do next.
Rao told his driver Shiva about the murder, asked him to abandon their car and flee. Meanwhile, Bari was waiting for further instructions from Rao. As there was none, he asked Asghar to plan the escape. Asghar and Subhash left for Nalgonda while Bari fled to Maharashtra. This was all the breakthrough that the police needed.
An unholy friendship
Mohd Asghar Ali, a college dropout, and Mohd Abdul bari, a school dropout, were friends since childhood. They had gone through similar hardships and circumstances in their lives. Both their fathers were policemen who died sometime around mid-nineties. Police say the duo went ‘astray’ after their fathers died. Asghar’s father Wajeed Ali retired as an ASI while Bari’s father Abdul Azeez retired as a constable
“The duo, who started with petty crimes and property offences, went on to be involved in the murder case of former Gujarat Home Minister Haren Pandya. However, they were acquitted later,” said a police official. In the Pandya murder case, the duo were lodged in Chanchalguda central prison but were shifted to different locations later as they created nuisance in the campus. Bari was shifted to Rajahmundry central prison where he met Subhash Sharma, who was arrested in a robbery case. They became friends and the unholy alliance continued and culminated in the murder of Pranay.
“Pani Ayipoyindi, migata dabbulu ready chesukondi (translated - work completed, arrange the balance amount)”, were the first words Bari told Maruthi Rao after the murder. After the incident, Asgar Ali called Bari and informed him that they had killed Pranay. Two hours before the murder, Maruthi Rao went to Nalgonda and met a few officials at the Collectorate to give an impression that he was not in the town. Enroute after the murder, he first answered Bari’s call, after which he answered Amrutha’s call, who told that someone attacked Pranay at the hospital.
He got irritated to that and disconnected the call. He told his driver Shiva to abandon the vehicle at Nalgonda and went to Kattangur. He also asked his brother-in-law to arrange a vehicle saying his vehicle broke down. From Kattangur, he travelled to Hyderabad and took shelter at Shiva’s place.