A local court in VIjayawada on Saturday remanded Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and former Andhra Pradesh Minister Kollu Ravindra to 14-day judicial custody in a case relating to murder of an YSRCP leader.
The police had detained Ravindra at Tuni in East Godavari district on Friday night and produced him before the Second Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate through video conference. Following the court order, the police shifted the former Minister to Rajamahendravarm jail. Ravindra has been booked for the murder of M Bhaskar Rao, a close associate of Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah.
Rao, ex-Chairman of the Machilipatnam market yard, was stabbed to death by four unidentified persons in the fish market on June 29. On a complaint by the slain leader's family, the police had registered a case against Ravindra.
The police arrested six people in the case, including main accused and local TDP leader Nancharaiah alias Chinta Chinni, who had a running rivalry with Rao for oneupmanship in the town and also in the fishermen community.
Krishna district Superintendent of Police M. Ravindranath Babu said Chinni, an associate of Ravindra, and others hatched a plan to eliminate Rao. "The TDP leader acted as a big brother to the accused and extended support to them," the SP said.
The police official said the former Minister had told them that his name should not come out in the case. Ravindra was arrested after the main accused's confession and call record data established his role, he said.
The investigation revealed the role played by Ravindra's personal assistants Rizwan and Nagaraju. The TDP leader had asked the accused not to call him over his mobile phone, and instead use personal staff's numbers, police said.
Before and after the offence, the accused spoke with Ravindra on his staff's number. Minutes after the murder, Chinni called on Rizwan's number and the former Minister asked him to flee the spot.
The SP said when a police team went to Ravindra's house to serve a notice, he fled by jumping over the compound wall using a ladder.
The TDP has condemned the arrest with the party chief and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu alleging that it was an act of vendetta by the YSRCP government.