ELURU: Eluru police on Tuesday revealed to mediapersons the identity of the 10 victims who were given cyanide-laced prasadam by the serial killer Vellanki Simhadri alias Siva over a period of 20 months. Siva and Shaik Aminullah, who supplied cyanide to the former, have been formally arrested by the police. The spine-chilling story of the cold-blooded serial killer was first published by TNIE on October 29.
The death of his associate and a physical education teacher (PET) Kati Nagaraju on October 16 near Mary Matha temple at Valluru under suspicious circumstances led to the discovery of the merciless killing of nine others by Siva. Nagaraju’s death was initially thought to be due to a heart attack. But his family suspected foul play as Rs 1.2 lakh in cash and some jewellery he carried were found missing. Police sent the body for post-mortem and they were left shocked when the autopsy report pointed to poisoning.
Siva, a resident of Hanuman Nagar in Venkatapuram of Eluru rural mandal, cheated his victims by promising to help them find hidden treasures and double their wealth. When his victims realised that they were taken for a ride and confronted him, Siva would offer them cyanide-laced prasadam, assuring them that the ‘blessed food’ would not let them down.
His victims died soon after eating the prasadam, but the needle of suspicion never turned to him as he cleverly escaped by claiming that they died of heart attack. The victims in the sensational serial murder cases were from East and West Godavari and Krishna districts. While the death of only four of them was registered as suspicious, the remaining six victims were cremated by their relatives thinking that the deaths were due to natural causes.
Chilling facts behind the ten killings
District SP Navdeep Singh Grewal who disclosed the details of the victims at the press conference praised Eluru DSP Dilip Kiran, circle inspector (rural) A Srinivas and SI Chava Suresh for cracking the case in record time.
According to the SP, the serial killer’s first victim was 63-year-old Vallabhaneni Umamaheswara Rao of Nuzvid, whom Siva took to Gopavaram Park with the promise of a ‘rice pulling’ coin on February 15, 2018. He gave Umamaheswara Rao cyanide-laced prasadam and fled with Rs 4 lakh and a silver ring after his death.
His second victim was Pulapu Thavitaiah, 50, of Marribandam village of Nuzvid mandal. Siva induced Thavitaiah to come to a particular place with Rs 8 lakh promising to double the money on March 2, 2018. Soon, he met the same fate as the first victim after eating the deadly prasadam while Siva walked away with the cash.
Gandikota Bhaskar Rao of Ajit Singh Nagar in Vijayawada was disposed of in the same manner on March 22, 2018 by the serial killer who took away Rs 1.7 lakh from his third victim.
The fourth victim, Kadiyala Bala Venkateswara Rao, had to pay with his life on March 31, 2018 for lending Rs 2.9 lakh to the serial killer. Siva who gave the victim the similar deadly ‘sacred prasadam’ took away a silver ring from Venkateswara Rao.
Chodavarapu Suryanarayana, a clerk in a chit fund company in Eluru, was convinced by Siva that the farmer had ‘rice pulling points’ and told to get Rs 5 lakh and meet him on April 4, 2018. He was the fifth victim to fall prey to the serial killer’s diabolical plot.
A few days later on April 28, Siva planned to rob Sri Sri Ramakrishnananda Swamy at an ashram at Purushottampatnam in Rajahmundry. He served the Swamy cyanide claiming it was some ayurvedic medicine. He fell dead immediately, but Siva failed to find any money or valuables at the ashram.
He did not spare even his own relations, according to the police. He approached his relative Kottapalli Raghavamma, a resident of the paper mill area in Rajahmundry on December 23 and gave her cyanide, saying that it was a cure for diabetes. After she fell dead, he took her mangalsutra and fled.
He targeted his sister-in-law Samantakurti Nagamani of Bommuru in Rajahmundry on January 12 this year. He gave her prasadam assuring her that if she ate it, her wealth would double. After she was dead, he collected Rs 5 lakh from her house and the jewellery from her person before fleeing.
His house owner, Ramulamma, was his next victim on August 30. He gave her cyanide and made her believe that it was prasadam. Once she was disposed of, he fled with her gold jewellery.
The PET teacher at KPDT school and his long-time associate, Nagaraju, did not seem to have a hint of the murderous nature of the serial killer. The unfortunate teacher was the 10th victim of Siva.