Former Denduluru MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakar, who was accused of attacking and publicly humiliating a group of Dalits in Pinakadimi village with his aides in the first week of September, was arrested from his residence in West Godavari district on Wednesday night.
The TDP leader, who had been absconding, reportedly came home to Duggirala to see his ailing wife. Mild tension prevailed at his residence preceding his arrest as his followers and TDP cadres confronted the police, alleging that the arrest was politically motivated.
Speaking to the media after he was apprehended by the police, Chintamaneni said that his arrest was politically motivated, and that the police had taken the decision without even conducting an inquiry into the matter. He also alleged that his house was raided without the requisite search warrant.
The police had registered a case under relevant sections of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act and other sections based on a complaint by Cheruku Joseph of Pinakadimi village.
Speaking to TNM, District SP Navdeep Singh said that the former MLA had been arrested earlier too in a case from 2017 in which Chintamaneni was accused of attacking and abducting a person belonging to the Scheduled Caste over a land dispute. “He was arrested and booked under the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act then too, and was sent to judicial remand,” the SP said.
When asked about the present arrest being politically motivated, the SP countered, “How is this a motivated act when he has 63 pending cases against him for the last 20 years?”
The former MLA is not new to controversy – just earlier this year, a video surfaced in which he was seen making objectionable remarks about Dalits and their politics.
Chintamaneni’s arrest comes at a time when both the ruling and opposition parties in Andhra are accusing each other of indulging in violence against each other’s cadres.