Alliance University: A Murder & Two Brothers’ Battle for Power
To see the popular HMT ground in RT Nagar cordoned off was surprising for morning walkers in the busy central Bengaluru neighborhood. Crowds gathered near the police tapes around the park soon and the news spread – the former Vice Chancellor of Alliance University, D Ayyappa Dore, was murdered in the grounds the previous night while he was out on a walk on Tuesday, 15 October.
Unlike usual murder probes, where multiple teams are formed to probe different angles, in this case, investigating officers had a hunch about who could have done it, thanks to a long dispute over the ownership of the university in which Ayyappa had been the VC.
For over a decade, Sudhir and his brother Madhkuar Angur had been fighting over control of this university. The murder was the latest episode in this long series of events, including a Rs 96 crore scam, a sexual assault case, and the university’s closure.
On Tuesday night, Ayyappa left home after dinner for a walk around 10:30pm. Since late night walks were his habit and he had the keys to the house, his family went to bed.
The next morning, around 5:30am, when Ayyappa’s wife Pavana didn’t find him at home, a frantic search began. Soon, his wife received a call from the police, who had found his body in the park.
A day after the murder, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Bhaskar Rao told media that the murder had been planned for several months and the killers had intended to kill to the prime accused’s brother Sudhir Angur as well.
According to the police, Sudhir was upset about Ayyappa getting close to his brother Madhukar. Sudhir was an influential figure in the university and had crucial documents pertaining to the ownership battle. Sudhir offered a 27-year-old business executive in the university, Suraj Singh, Rs 1 crore to plan and murder his brother and his new ally.
Singh stalked Ayappa and Madhukar for a month. Realising Ayyappa had the habit of taking late night walks, they decided to murder him in the park on Tuesday night. Along with another attacker, Singh waited for Ayyappa on Tuesday, but he didn’t turn up.
Just when they were about to pack up, they saw Ayyappa come out of the house. It was later revealed that Ayyappa had gone to to visit a relative, which had delayed his walk.
Later, the attackers followed him till the HMT grounds and, at an isolated location, hacked him to death. Police clarified that Singh was not a contract killer but had agreed to murder Ayyappa for money.
The Power Struggle
The motive behind the murder was at least a decade old, said investigators. Two bothers wanted control over the university, which had close to 6,500 students.
The power struggle became public in April 2016, after Madhukar Angur was fired as chancellor and replaced by his brother Sudhir. This power struggle resulted in the semester-end exams being postponed by a couple of months and the university going on holiday the same year.
While the university was closed in September, Madhukar Angur took back the chancellorship. In two months’ time, Sudhir was back in control of the university again.
A Scam and a ‘Sexual Assault’
As uncertainty prevailed over the ownership, the Karnataka government ordered an investigation and appointed an officer in the campus to ensure the university’s smooth functioning.
While this power struggle was on, in February 2016, Madhukar Angur was slapped with a rape case. Sudhir accused him of sexually abusing his 31-year-old daughter several times over a period of three years. Police didn’t file a charge sheet, finding that the case was fabricated.
Since 2016, there had been a lull in the controversy, with both parties involved in a long legal battle. However, Ayyappa’s proximity to Madhurkar ticked Sudhir off. According to sources, Ayyappa was in possession of documents which could have helped in Sudhir in the legal battle, and it was this that provided impetus for the murder.
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