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Murder cuffs on high-flying evangelist

Hyderabad, May 21: K.A. Paul, the high-flying Indian American evangelist whose organisation once owned a Boeing 747, was arrested in Andhra Pradesh today on the charge of having had his brother murdered two years ago, police said.

Circle inspector Srinivas of Ongole town alleged that Paul, 48, offered him Rs 1 crore when he arrived to arrest him and produced Rs 3 lakh on the spot as “advance payment”.

The Andhra-born Paul had become a naturalised US citizen in the 1990s but returned to India five years ago and floated a political party. He was in Ongole, 350km from Hyderabad, to campaign for a by-election when he was arrested and remanded in 15 days’ judicial custody.

He has been charged under IPC Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 307 (attempt to murder), PTI quoted Prakasam superintendent of police Raghurami Reddy as saying.

Paul has also been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act for the alleged bribe offer, apparently on the basis of tapes of the conversation produced by the officer.

Sources said the evangelist and his brother David Raju had fallen out over the control of the assets of Paul’s foundation, Gospel for the Unreached Millions, which had set up a 1,000-acre “charity city” near Sadashivpet in Medak. In 2010, David was mysteriously found dead at the wheel of his Innova car on a highway.

The same year, the police arrested the alleged contract killer, Koteswar Rao. Circle inspector Srinivas today claimed Koteswar had recently confessed that it was Paul who had hired him to murder David.

According to PTI, Paul told reporters before being taken to prison that some Congress leaders and Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy had conspired to send him to jail. Paul and Jagan’s father, former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, had been at loggerheads since YSR ordered a probe into allegations of land-grabbing by the evangelist for his charity city.

Paul was born Anand Kilari, son of a poor fisherman in the northern coastal district of Vizianagaram. He became a full-time evangelist at 19 and later moved to the US.