Tavarekere police arrested three people on Monday in connection with the murder of an RTI activist last week.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the prime suspect, Pradeep Kumar TN, 33, a resident of Taverekere, had a financial dispute with Venkatesh, 43, an RTI activist.
Pradeep reportedly hired Satish TC, 20, a resident of Manjunathanagar in Taverekere, and Tejas Kumar, 22, of ASB Layout in Yelachaguppe, to attack Venkatesh. Both were arrested along with Pradeep.
Police are also investigating whether the murder has anything to do with RTI’s claim filed by Venkatesh.
Ramanagar Police Superintendent Girish S said Venkatesh took a loan from Pradeep and did not return it. “Pradeep wanted to teach him a lesson and attacked him,” he added.
Read also | Attackers cut off leg and hand of RTI activist who denounced corruption
An investigating officer said Venkatesh borrowed Rs 10 lakh from Pradeep at 3% interest. He paid 30,000 rupees monthly interest for six months and refused to repay the principal or pay additional interest.
Venkatesh also reportedly threatened to denounce Pradeep for doing fundraising deals and have him arrested. Pradeep learned that Venkatesh was filing RTI complaints against government agents and making a lot of money from the extortion.
He repeatedly asked Venkatesh to return the money he had lent him. When Venkatesh refused, Pradeep asked the henchmen to cut off his hand and leg.
Satish and Tejas therefore cut off Venkatesh’s wrist and right leg while attacking him. Sources also said that Venkatesh had a dispute with the accused over a ‘Gomala’ plot in Yelachaguppe, about which he had filed an RTI request and obtained the documents.
Venkatesh underwent surgery but died on Sunday. The trio told police they had no intention of killing him.