Four months ago, three people were found dead inside a temple in Korthikota of Tanakal in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

5 arrested for Andhra triple murder accused were allegedly searching for treasure
news Crime Wednesday, November 06, 2019 - 19:35

Nearly four months after the brutal triple murder which took place inside a temple in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, police have arrested five men allegedly involved in the case. A sixth man, who is also believed to be involved, is absconding. According to the police, their investigation has revealed that the murders were motivated by the search for a ‘hidden treasure’ of diamonds under the ‘shivalingam’ of the temple. 

On July 15, 3 people were found dead in the premises of a temple in Korthikota of Tanakal in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The three people – Shivarami Reddy who was looking after the temple, his sister Kamalamma, and another woman from the same village, Sathyalakshmamma – were found with their throats slit. 

Soon after the investigation began, police ruled out the possibility of personal enmity or property-related disputes as the possible cause of murder. Suspecting that a ‘treasure hunt’ might be the reason behind the murders, the investigation team interrogated nearly 30 ‘treasure hunt gangs’ and 300 suspects from multiple districts in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, including Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur, Chikballapur and Kolar. Finally, the accused were nabbed on Tuesday from a garden in Mudigubba mandal by the Kadiri Rural Police.

Police have seized a dagger, a bottle of pepper spray, a hammer, a stick and two bottles of blood from the accused. 

Based on their interrogation, police have stated that the three men among the accused, Hanumanth Nayak (20), Srikanth Nayak (25), and Ganesh (25) were friends who often spent time together. They met the fourth accused, Vasudeva Reddy (45), a real estate agent in Puttaparthi, who introduced them to the fifth accused, M Srinivasulu (45). The absconding Subramanyam Naidu was Srinivasulu’s ‘mentor’, according to the police. 

Kadiri Rural police have alleged that it was Srinivasulu who instigated Hanumanth, Srikanth and Ganesh to commit the crime. Srinivasulu allegedly told the three men that his mentor Naidu knew of a treasure of diamonds hidden under the ‘shivalingam’. Police believe that he also told them that Naidu himself had attempted to get the diamonds but had failed. He allegedly convinced the three younger men that killing the elder people who guarded the temple at night was the only way to reach the treasure. Shrikanth, Hanumanth and Ganesh are even believed to have conducted a ‘recce’ near the temple on March 17 to prepare for the murders which would happen four months later. 

Srinivasulu allegedly even picked the date, July 14, claiming that ‘trayodashi’, the thirteenth day of the fortnight, was ‘auspicious’. According to the police, on that Sunday night, the three men arrived on a two-wheeler, entered the temple, and killed the three elderly people by first hitting them on the head with a stick, and then stabbing them with a dagger. 

When the bodies were discovered right outside the temple on July 15, police had also found blood splattered inside the temple, and on the shivalingam. Police have now claimed that the accused had poured animal blood over the ‘snake hills’, as they had been advised that this would stop snakes, or ‘divine powers’, from interrupting their theft. The men allegedly tried to break the shivalingam first, and then tried to uproot it. Police say that they had poured animal blood over the shivalingam as well, as they believed that it would them disembowel on its own and the diamonds would appear in front of them. After allegedly trying different ways to access the ‘treasure’, they finally gave up as it had been a long while and they were afraid of being caught. 

Read: 3 found dead in temple premises in Anantapur, human sacrifice suspected

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