Maruthi Rao, the main accused in the caste killing of 24-year-old Pranay Perumalla in Telangana in 2018, was found dead in Hyderabad on Sunday, 8 March. His body was found in room number 306 at the Arya Vaishya Bhavan in Khairatabad.
Venu Gopal Reddy, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Saifabad, said, "The identity has been established. We don't know other details now, including why he came to Hyderabad. The body will most likely be moved to Osmania Hospital shortly."
The police suspect that he may have killed himself. Further details are awaited.
Maruthi Rao was accused of paying Rs 1 crore to a contract killer in September 2018, to murder Pranay, who was married to his daughter Amrutha. The police said that Rao was opposed staunchly to the inter-caste marriage of his daughter, Amrutha – an upper caste woman from the Vyshya community, with Pranay, a Dalit man from the Mala community.
The murder which had taken place on 14 September 2018 when Pranay and Amrutha were coming out of a hospital. Pranay died after suffering two heavy blows to his head and back.
The entire incident was caught on CCTV camera, and had sent shockwaves across the state and the country. Amrutiha, who was pregnant at the time, has since given birth to a baby boy.
In April 2019, Rao, his brother Sravan, and several others were granted bail after being arrested for the murder as the police failed to file a chargesheet within the 90-day deadline.
The police had slapped the accused with a case under the Preventive Detention (PD) Act, but this was later quashed out of the High Court, following which Rao was out on bail and staying at his Miryalaguda home.
Maruthi Rao's death comes days after a dead body was found in a shed that allegedly belonged to him. Residents near the Hanumanpet flyover on the Addanki-Narkatpally highway had alerted the police about a foul smell in the area. The investigation into this case was underway, and the police have not yet established the identity of the person.
(This was first published on The News Minute and has been republished with permission.)