'Encounter poli' led a similar operation in Warangal in 2008

HYDERABAD: In 2008, three men threw acid on Pranitha, 20, and her friend, Swapnika, in Warangal. S Srinivas (25), D Sanjay (22) and P Harikrishna (24) allegedly attacked the women because Swapnika had rejected Srinivas. Protests demanding justice for the two seized Andhra. Three days after the attack, the defendants were killed in a meeting.

V C Sajjanar was Warangal SP then. Eleven years later, four men accused of raping and killing a veterinarian in Cyberabad, who now runs Sajjanar, had the same fate.

A 1996 batch IPS officer, the gentle Sajjanar was a low-profile cop until this episode, after which he earned the meeting police nickname. He became a hero for acting quickly to make arrests within 48 hours after the attack on women and the encounter within three days. Pranitha and Swapnika, their families and people from across the state welcomed the meeting.

While the police faced criticism for mishandling the murder case for veterinary rape, Sajjanar was making silent strategies. The murder of four defendants in the early hours of Friday near Shamshabad was reminiscent of the Warangal meeting 11 years ago.

The older policemen remember that Sajjanar was in operation when the two students of the Kakatiya College of Technology, Warangal, were attacked by the trio. Sajjanar said the trio was shot dead in self-defense when they attacked the police after they were taken to Mamnoor on the outskirts of Warangal to retrieve the acid bottle and the stolen motorcycle. Police said the trio tried to attack them with country weapons and bottles of acid that they had allegedly hidden. The police retaliated and the trio was killed at the meeting.

In a strange similarity, Sajjanar said Friday's meeting took place when two of the defendants attacked the police and the other two took up their weapons and tried to shoot. They were killed in the crossfire, he said.

Sajjanar, originally from Hubballi in Karnataka, began his career as an assault commander in Greyhounds, the elite anti-naxal force, and was an additional SP in Jangaon in 1997. He then directed the police in five districts prone to Naxal: Nalgonda, Warangal, Kadapa , Guntur and Medak. An IPS officer who gains control of five districts like SP is also a rare case, a former IPS officer said.

When Sajjanar was in charge of anti-nax operations in the former Khammam in 2000, he was sent to Odisha to train the police after a series of attacks on police stations by the Maoists. He led the special intelligence branch for almost three years and was under his command when gangster Nayeemuddin was killed in a meeting two years ago, an officer said.

Sajjanar had also worked with Counter Intelligence Wing, which deals with terrorism-related activities. As head of EOW at CID, he persecuted multilevel marketing companies to fool people. Under him, cases were filed against Amway and Japan Life. Some organizations closed their businesses in undivided AP when it was EOW SP, an inspector recalled.

(The identity of the victim has not been revealed to protect their privacy according to the directives of the Supreme Court in cases related to sexual assault)