Murder at mosque: one person arrested

The Urban police claimed to have solved the mystery behind the December 29 murder of the ‘Muezzin’ (caretaker) of Noorani Mosque, Mohammad Farook (61), in Lalacheruvu area in Rajahmundry.

The police arrested Armugam Maniratnam (34) alias Mani of Guntakal in Anantapur district and produced before media on Wednesday.

Urban SP B. Raja Kumari said Maniratnam, an alleged habitual offender, was nabbed at the bus-stand in Urvakonda village of Anantapur district with the cooperation of Guntakal and Kanigiri police. The accused belongs to Sri Lanka Colony in Guntakal and reportedly was an alcoholic, and allegedly started killing people for small financial gains.

He has been accused in six cases in the past, including murder-for-gain cases. He does not live in place where he commits crime. He came to a relative’s house Rajahmundry after death of his wife and parents and he was turned back. On November 22, he broke open the lock of Ganesh temple in Rajamahendravaram and allegedly stole money and silver ornaments and went to Gooty in Anantapur district after burying the stolen goods in bushes near the temple. On December 28, he reportedly came to Rajahmundry and picked the stolen booty from the hidden place and consumed liquor in Lala Cheruvu area.

In an inebriated state, he reportedly saw Noor Ali Mosque nearby and jumped the compound wall with an intention to loot the place and noticed caretaker of the Mosque, Md. Farook sleeping in the verandah. He allegedly hit Md. Farook with a stick on his head and took keys from is pocket. He opened up offering boxes in the mosque and collected money from them and hit the caretaker once again on his head. In a bid to destroy evidence, he collected carpets and papers in the Mosque and set them on fire. Later, he closed the door of the mosque to make sure that smoke did not come out of the mosque and boarded the train to Guntakal after changing his dress.

The SP said all the police officers who investigated the case would be rewarded.

The murder of Farook led to tension in Rajamahendravaram as a few religious books were found burnt.

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