Former Andhra Pradesh minister Bhuma Akhila Priya was on Wednesday arrested in connection with the kidnapping of a former badminton player and his two brothers from here over a land dispute, police said.
A group of around 15 people posing as Income Tax sleuths entered the house of Praveen Rao, a former national badminton player, at Bowenpally on Tuesday night on the pretext of conducting a raid and abducted Praveen and his brothers, sources said.
They took them to a farmhouse but later left them at Narsingi after police intensified search to locate them.
The group with one of them wearing police uniform entered the house with fake search warrants and identity cards, and confined the trio in a hall for interrogation while other family members were confined to a room, Hyderabad Commissioner of Police Anjani Kumar told reporters.
To a query on reports that the three abducted brothers were relatives of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the commissioner said:"All are equal before law. We have to treat everyone equally, we will be professionally very firm, and will treat it like any other case."
After a relative, who had been to a neighbour's house returned and opened the door, the other family members noticed in the CCTV that the persons took their kin away in three separate vehicles.
The family also realised that the persons were not government officials and they had kidnapped the trio, the Commissioner said.
The family members alerted police and suspected the involvement of their relative A V Subba Reddy, besides Bhuma Akhila Priya, her husband Bhargava Ram and their henchmen and attributed the reason for the kidnapping to be a land dispute, police said.
More than 15 police teams were sent in various directions to trace the brothers and Telangana Police were also in touch with their Andhra Pradesh counterparts, Kumar said.
Police carried out CCTV footage analysis and identified the vehicles in which the three brothers were taken away.
Due to police presence and checking on all roads leading to inter-state borders the abductors thought it was not possible to escape and released the three siblings at Narsingi around 3.30 am on Wednesday before fleeing, police said.
After the brothers switched on their phones, police located them through tower location, contacted and shifted them to their house.
Meanwhile, Bhuma Akhila Priya was arrested from her residence at Kukatpally here and she is in police custody, the Hyderabad police chief said.
Efforts were on to nab the others involved in the case who are absconding.
Police said preliminary investigation revealed that the accused including Bhuma Akhila Priya, her husband and others allegedly planned, conspired, executed the kidnapping following a dispute over a land located at Hafeezpet.
Earlier, Telangana Minister for Tourism, Excise and Prohibition V Srinivas Goud also called on the family members after learning about the kidnapping incident.
Akhila Priya served as a tourism minister in the Telugu Desam government in Andhra Pradesh.