AP's Cyanide Jolly who killed 10 in 2 years behind bars

The police also arrested Ameenullah Babu (60) of Vijayawada for selling the cyanide to the killer. (DH photo)

Eluru (West Godavari) police on Tuesday arrested a 38-year-old watchman-turned-real estate dealer who allegedly poisoned ten persons including his landlord and sister-in-law by offering them Prasadam laced with Potassium Cyanide during the past twenty months. The police also presented him before the media.

According to West Godavari superintendent of police Navdeep Singh Garewal, the accused Vellanki Simhadri alias Siva of Venkatapuram village had committed these serial murders in three districts of Krishna, East Godavari and West Godavari in a pre-planned manner between February 2018 to October 2019. The police also arrested Ameenullah Babu (60) of Vijayawada for selling the cyanide to the killer. Babu used to bring the cyanide from his brother’s nickel plating workshop and sell it to Simhadri.

Simhadri’s murders came to light after police started checking CCTV footage of the last murder. Simhadri allegedly killed Kati Nagaraju (49), a physical education teacher of a government school from Eluru town on October 6. It was found that the last victim carried Rs 2 lakh and 50 grams of gold when he went out to meet Simhadri. “While leaving Nagaraju told his wife that he is going for some work in the bank. But he never returned. His family members lodged a complaint with the police. Later, the body of Nagaraju was found near a polytechnic college,” the SP said.

Further investigation with the help of mobile phone call records and CCTV footage showed that Nagaraju met Simhadri. Upon questioning, Simhadri spilled the beans and agreed to have killed ten people, at least one every two months in the past two years, to recover from the losses he incurred in his failed real estate business.

Cyanide-laced Prasadam

Simhadri killed nine more innocent victims before Nagaraju. They were: Vallabhaneni Uma Maheswara Rao of Nuzividu, Pulapa Tavitaiah of Marribandam village, Bala Venkateswara Rao of Gannavarm, Gandikota Bhaskara Rao of Vijayawada, Sri Ramakrishnanda of Purushotapatnam ashram; Chodarapu Suryanarayana, Kothapalli Raghavamma, Samantakurthi Nagamani and Ramulamma (all from Eluru).

Simhadri used to convince them that he would perform certain pooja and invited them to isolated locations. Based on the case, he either used to offer them Prasadam laced with the cyanide or some herbal medicine mixed with the poison. After ensuring that they are dead, he used to decamp with the cash and ornaments withing minutes. As there were no tell marks on the dead, the relatives and police used to think that it was a case of normal death. “As Simhadri used to a take long time between murders and apparent lack of motive behind the deaths in isolated places helped him to escape from ten murders,” the SP said.

In all, he had robbed the victims of Rs 24.60 lakh in cash and 35.25 tolas of gold. The police recovered Rs 1.63 lakh cash and a little quantity of gold from Simhadri. He built a house with part of the money he stole from his victims. Police also found a list of twenty more names who were in the client list of the serial killer.

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