A whistleblower, Guru Pratap Reddy alias Gurunatha Reddy, was killed in a group clash at Pengi Ananthapur village of Kondapuram mandal in Kadapa district on Friday.
The incident took place when an official team visited the village early in the morning to conduct a door-to-door survey to finalise the R&R beneficiaries eligible for compensation as the village would be submerged under the proposed expansion of the Gandikota project.
When allegations were rife over the inclusion of up to 270 fake beneficiaries in the list, it was Gurunatha Reddy who had submitted a representation to district Collector Ch. Hari Kiran two months ago, requesting his intervention to stem the rot.
Enraged by the development, Ramesh Reddy of the same village, who had allegedly included fictitious names, nursed a grudge towards him.
As members of the official team reached the village, Ramesh Reddy and several others allegedly tried to disperse them and started attacking Gurunatha Reddy and his relatives with iron rods and a dagger.
Though his brothers escaped with minor injuries, Gurunatha Reddy received deep cuts and died while being shifted to the government hospital at Tadipatri.
Superintendent of Police K.K.N. Anburajan ordered reinforcement and posted a picket in the village.
“We have launched a manhunt to nab Ramesh Reddy and 10 others,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Jammalamadugu) N. Nagaraju told The Hindu. The Kondapuram police booked a case against 11 persons.
The attack was initially seen as a scuffle between two warring groups within the ruling YSRCP represented by MLA M. Sudheer Reddy and former MLA P. Ramasubba Reddy, as the victim and the accused belonged to the rival camps.
However, Gurunatha Reddy’s role as a whistleblower in unearthing the darker side of the compensation dole came to the fore after the district officials recalled the complaint filed by him two months ago.