"You please keep talking to me, I am scared."
In a horrific incident, veterinarian Dr Priyanka Reddy was murdered while on her way home from work.
Her body was found on November 28, 2019, below an underpass, approximately 18 miles from her home in Shadnagar.
It was reported that she was burnt alive. However, police suspect that she was raped before she was killed.
Police have said that the 26-year-old was on her way home from the veterinary hospital where she had been working since 2018.
But on her way back, after she had parked up for a short while, she came back to her scooter to find she had a flat tyre. Thus, leaving her stranded in Shamshabad.
Her sister Bhavya said that Priyanka had called her at around 9:15 pm on November 27, explaining what had happened.
In the phone call, Priyanka said that someone had offered to help her. She told the man she would take her vehicle to a tyre shop herself, but he insisted on helping her.
There were several lorry drivers in the area, which made Priyanka feel uneasy. Her sister advised her to stand near the toll gate. She even told her to leave her scooter if necessary.
Priyanka Reddy hung up on her sister promising to call her soon. However, when she didn’t phone, Bhavya tried to call her at around 9:45 pm but discovered that her phone was switched off.
Details of Priyanka’s phone call to Bhavya have emerged. The vet had told her sister:
“You please keep talking until my scooter comes back. They [the strangers] are all waiting outside. You please keep talking to me, I am scared.”
Priyanka Last cal recording to her sis
Trans :- i am so scared some ppl are staring at me pls talk with me for 5 mins upto my bike get repair
— Sreekanth (@Sree10012) November 28, 2019
Bhavya later told police: “I even asked her to come away leaving the vehicle. When I called after some time, her phone was switched off.”
Her family filed a missing person complaint at 11 pm. However, the next morning, her charred body was discovered.
Priyanka was identified by the clothes she was wearing as well as a necklace.
Officers recovered the victim’s clothes and a liquor bottle near the toll gate.
A case was registered and a preliminary investigation suspected that two lorry drivers were responsible. Police also believe that Priyanka’s scooter was deliberately punctured.
Shamshabad DCP Prakash Reddy said: “We are examining CCTV footage from the area.
“The police was informed at about 7:30 this morning about the burnt body. We suspect she was doused with kerosene and burnt.”
Ten police teams were formed to locate the suspects who brutally murdered Priyanka. Her scooter has not yet been found.
The murder has sent shockwaves across the state of Telangana.
Many took went on Twitter to express their sadness and anger. They also demanded justice. The incident has led to #RIPPriyankaReddy trending. One person wrote:
“The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be brought to justice and given strictest punishment.”
“They have no right to remain in civil society.”
Dr M Srinivas said: “It is a shameful incident for us. It makes us question if we are living in a barbarian society.
“What happened with such an educated, independent woman is beyond our imagination. It is a shame for the whole society.”
A concerning point for the public was the response from Mohammad Mahmood Ali, the Telangana Home Minister, who questioned why the victim called her sister and not the emergency 100 number. Indicating the blame being put on the victim.
Police reviewed the CCTV footage of the area and have since arrested four suspects.
The accused have been identified as Mohammad Pasha aka Areef, aged 26; Jollu Shiva, aged 20, Jollu Naveen, aged 23 and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu, aged 20.
They have all been booked under sections 376D, 302, 201 of IPC and Criminal Amendment act of 2013.
Interrogation of Accused
After the questioning and interrogation of the accused, Sajjanar revealed as to what took place.
The horrific attack on Dr Priyanka Reddy was premeditated.
After noticing the victim parking her scooter in an open area, the accused, who had been drinking, devised a plan to trap and rape her.
It was Jollu Shiva who concocted the idea of trapping her by deflating the rear tyre of her scooter to stop her from leaving.
Jollu Naveen then deflated the tyre. After which they waited for Dr Priyanka Reddy to return to her scooter.
When the victim returned, Mohammed (alias Areef), who is the main accused, approached her after leaving his lorry.
Areef made the victim aware of the flat tyre as she was about to start her scooter and insisted to help.
He sent her vehicle to be repaired with Shiva. It was around this point she made the call to her sister.
However, he came back saying all the repair shops were all closed.
Before getting the chance to respond to him, the victim was suddenly dragged by Areef, Naveen and Chintakunta Chennakeshavulu into an open plot area on the side of the road.
After almost 15 meters of dragging her, they made sure no one could see them from the road and hit her on her head putting her in an unconscious state. They then all raped her, one by one.
After raping the doctor, Areef gagged and smothered her while Shiva held her legs. She died on the spot.
Subsequently, they discarded her scooter’s number plate and Areef and Chennakeshavulu took her body in a lorry. The other two followed on her scooter.
They drove over two hours towards Shadnagar and arrived at Chatanpally, where they dumped the victim’s body.
During their journey, they tried to buy petrol to put into an empty bottle at two petrol pumps and managed to get a pump near Kothur to agree to the purchase.
In addition, they stopped on the way to draw diesel into a bottle from their lorry.
They then took out the victim’s body covered in a blanket, doused it in the petrol and diesel and set it on fire. After which they left the spot of the heinous crime.
After a while, Naveen and Shiva returned to the area to check if the body had completely burnt. They then returned to Kothur to join the other two who were waiting their lorry.
They then headed off and fled.
With regards to action against the accused, Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar said:
“The case will be put to a fast track court and efforts will be made so that the accused gets capital punishment.”
This case highlights once again the concern for the safety of women in India.
There has been commentary on social media highlighting the slow reaction of the police and even suggestions from them that Dr Priyanka Reddy was having a relationship or had gone with her lover. Which her parents have angrily reacted towards.
Public reactions call for the perpetrators to be dealt with by capital punishment. But if the Nirbhaya rape case is anything to go by, then this may be another case which does not see justice for the loss of an innocent woman.
Therefore, let’s hope this horrific case increases the need for the safety of women to be a priority in India.