Chapter One – Thumukunta, Hyderabad – Time, Distance And Speed
A Man, a wife, and a son. The man, a fifty-year-old business development manager in Satyam Computer Services Ltd (now Tech Mahindra). The wife, a thirty-five-year-old woman, who grew up in Jodhpur, and was married off by her parents to this unknown stranger just because he was rich and from the same clan. The boy, a sixteen-year-old kid, who had just passed his 10th standard from Hyderabad Public School, and had no idea about the demons which infested humans.
At about 4.30 in the evening, after inspecting a prospective plot of land, in Shamirpet, the man, Ranjesh Gupta, was driving his family home. At the Alwal junction, at a narrow rail crossing, they had to stop their car, as a lone auto before them, was refusing to move. Ranjesh Gupta honked repeatedly, but the driver would only scream out some inaudible things, and get back to trying all sorts of tricks to start the auto. Ranjesh’s frustration grew a notch, and he decided to reverse the car, but then another car, an SUV, had already arrived at their back. He was properly “packaged” (look out for this term as we go deeper into the article). There was only one thing he could do now. Get out of the car and try scolding/shouting/or beating the Auto driver to make the vehicle start. As he arrived at the Auto, a couple of hands, grabbed him from the passenger seat of the Auto and pulled him inside. Simple. 37 blade punctures all across his chest in the next minute, and as Ranjesh Gupta was thrown out of the vehicle, his silky blue shirt, had become all maroon. But he was still beating for life.
It took a moment for the wife and the son to realise what was happening, and as they got out of the car, two burglars came out from the SUV, and grabbed hold of the boy, and slit his throat. The wife ran to her dying husband, as the Auto came to life, and throttled away. As she looked behind, the SUV was revving back as well. In the panic, she didn’t realise the dead boy, lying on the other side of the car. Ranjesh could only grab onto life for a minute more to look at his wife’s pleasant face before he succumbed.
Three months later:
The legal heir of property and apparent nominee, Mrs Pallavi Gupta, received a cheque of 6 crores from Life Insurance Corporation of India, as the full policy amount for the ‘untimely’ death of her husband and child. People grieved for days and forgot in the following months. The deal was simple. 10 lakhs and 0.5% of Policy Amount. She paid the total amount, 13 lakhs via the broker, Srikanth, to Kaka. In the next month, she started her own boutique store in Jubilee Hills, called ‘Haven Designs’ in partnership with popular fashion designer, Kranthi Kumar. The store still thrives in the heart of the city, with fashion escalated designs and accommodating clientele.
On 14th March 2010, KaKa the most notorious contract killer in South India was arrested on multiple charges of murder, extortion, and kidnapping. High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad, sentenced him to Life Imprisonment under Indian Penal Code – Sections 302 (murder), section 323 (extortion) and 363 (kidnapping).
This is his story. Read on as we dive into the world of the psyche of a criminal, with the help of our team of writers, VoxTheFox, Hrishab Mukherji and Jacob.R.Daniel, interviewing KaKa.
Chapter Two: KaKa – The Detached Man: 2011, Inputs by Jacob.R.Daniel
Charlapally Central Jail. The place was cleaner and tidier than any imagination I had of it. Our channel head had been very specific when he had asked me to first check out the ‘hostility’ levels before going for the coverage. It had been three days since my arrival in Hyderabad, and although I was proficient in Hindi (at least the conversations part), the dialect was still somewhat off tune. I was finding it an effort, to pick up their intent in one go. I hoped the Jailer, Mr Koteswara Rao would be a slow talker. Not the volume, but the speed. My hope looked good, when earlier in the morning I called him up to confirm my appointment. He had a stern voice, but thankfully a clear one. And here I was, in the forgotten parts of the city, at an Institution (most thinkers say that the term Jail spreads across a negative and hopeless sense) which housed around 300 inmates. My project, story or coverage was piqued on one particular individual who for some reason no one had found prudent enough to cover. KaKa. That was his name. At least the street name. His name was noted to the biggest and the most powerful people in the city. But once he got arrested, it is just ironical that his bail never came (although it was supposed to, right after two days of his arrest).
The Head Constables took me through a maze of doors, all grilled with steel rods, and arrived at a long corridor which overlooked the playground within. A few inmates were sitting under a tree, wonderfully rooted right in the middle of the ground. And then, as I walked through, and as the stares, from these men under the tree, followed me through, The Head Constable and I, entered a more secluded area. The area housed the cells. We crossed that too, as we arrived at managerial rooms, where most of the interrogations happened. The Head Constable took me into one of these rooms and asked me to wait there for a few minutes. And after thirty minutes, he arrived back again, with an ageing and frail looking man, who was bald, slim and was slouching a bit. The first thing that crossed my mind when I saw him was, Weakness. How weak was he? I could practically see his bone structure near his shoulders and neck. The Head Constable asked both of us to sit in the opposite chairs, as he pulled up another chair to sit away from us. And thus, started my intriguing interview with him, which took almost six years to complete.
Do you know who I am? Did they tell you who I am and why you are, we both are here?
Yes, Subbi Anna told me about you. I think you are from News Channel. I keep watching the news every night at 9. ETV has news at that time. They are good. They tell the news properly. Other news channels, talk nonsense all the time, because, see, they have to run all day long. But news happens only once. So, I am a news article to you, I think. For all day long or for half an hour? How long will you run me?
Let me assure you that you are not a news item. You are a person of interest and therefore we want to document your life into a documentary movie.
Oh, movie you will make? Who will be the hero. The hero should be nice, tall also, but not thin. Nice nice.
We are planning to make a documentary on you? Will you share your story with us, so that we can bring out the stories from all angles?
All angles means? What angles, there are nothing! Maybe you are looking for someone else. I am here because they caught me with drugs, you know. And I will be here for all the other crimes. How stupid is that? But I can tell you my story ofcourse. But do show me the movie when it is done. Here, you will come here, and show me and my friends the whole movie. If you will do that, I’m ready to talk about myself. You can ask questions and I’ll answer.
(It is interesting information when you see that even after committing, directly or indirectly, 170 murders, he never got arrested. It was in a strange twist of fate, that an unassuming police officer, in one of the raids at a local two-star hotel, arrested KaKa, who was found possessing three packets of Ecstasy. It was after he was arrested, and presented for prosecution, that the prosecuting lawyer raised a case that the accused was none other than KaKa. The prosecutor could prove his true identity, and then the judge processed KaKa for a few days, before awarding him a life sentence for his other records of crime, mainly Contract Killing)
You speak pretty good English; I am curious about that? Where did you do your schooling from and we know that you aren’t from this city? So how did you land up being here and how does everyone know about you?
Thank you. Ongole is my hometown. I went to St Joseph’s Missionary school in Ongole till my tenth standard and came to the city when I was 17. I never went back. From here, I have travelled to many places. Delhi to Dubai, and more. When I came here, in the 70’s, I was alone. I came here to find some work basing on my basic education. But, there were no jobs. I realised I had done something wrong, by leaving my family behind. You see, they didn’t know that I was coming here. I didn’t tell them. I wanted to earn money, and then go home.
So when I came here, I had nothing. My bag, my books and certificate, everything was stolen. When I got off the bus here in Imlibun Bus Station, I thought I’ll keep the luggage on a bench and go have some tea. I used to love tea. That was the only mistake I ever did in my period of stay here until I got arrested roughly 32 years later. By the time I returned, nothing was left on the bench. No money. No food, and No Clothes, I just slept there for two days. I wanted to go home, and climbed and sat on the bus, which was leaving for Ongole. But after reaching, Gungal, I felt ashamed. That’s when I got off the bus and took a lift back to the city outskirts. I couldn’t face my father. I had come here to make lots of money. And if I had gone back, I would be nothing. I would become a buffoon. So I came back. I begged for some work at a small hotel on the outskirts and joined it as a boy.
The owner, Suribabu Naik, was good. I liked him. He gave me food and paid me about 30 rupees every month. But one day he wasn’t in the hotel, I was called in by the Madam. I had already slept with her twice, but this time somehow I hated what I was doing. One thing was that she was too heavy for me. And also she hurt me too. So that day, after I had fucked her, and she had slept, I took her jewelry, and some money and ran off to the city. Later, I bought a scooter, Chetak. And started delivering liquor from wine shops to people, at their homes. Then eventually I came into ‘arranging’ things.
You say arranging things? What do you mean by that? Didn’t you feel guilty of cheating the person who gave you a job, he was a kind man is what you said?
Arranging things, means, bringing people in connection. Once I became popular, as the Mandubabu (The liquor boy), I started having contacts. And in this city, it is not about how rich or successful you become? It is about the contacts you can use when you want. I believe that. I am alive now, in spite of political pressure to finish me off. You know why? Because my contacts are still out there, and they know what I am worth. So, I arranged things. In 1980, I think, I was invited to a construction site party. There I met a businessman, Shankar Goud, who in a drunken state confessed that he wanted to get rid of his partner. I told him that I knew a guy who could ‘arrange things’. There was no other guy, but me. You see, I wanted to be anonymous for a long time, and just put across the face of a mediator. That was my first job. I finished his partner off in the next three days, at a parking lot in Malkajgiri. I was paid 5000 for it. From there on things started. And soon, I was taking projects regularly. Initially, I didn’t reject anyone, as I was afraid that they would reveal my identity to the Police.
In 1987, I had finally found a policeman, who became a friend, and in an arrangement, he would tell me if anyone talked about me. Those were the extra kills, which unfortunately I had to do for free. A business loss.
As for my first job, see, Suribabu Naik was a good man. He was kind to give me a job, but he was weak as well. He used to smile all day long, and in the night cry at a corner, drunk as a pig. His wife, well a fat lady, who I think was a year or two elder to him, slept alone. One day she invited me in, to sleep on the bed. I was until that point, sleeping on one of the benches in the hotel. So when I went in, she asked me to sleep beside her. And slowly I felt her leg on mine, and her hands rubbing my chest. I was in that young age. And we fucked. This continued a couple of more times. By this time, even Suribabu Naik knew about this. He didn’t say a word. As I said, I pitied him for being so vulnerable and weak. I felt more frustrated by him, as he no longer seemed like a person I should look up to, and finally decided that it was his destiny to suffer. Why should I also suffer with him? Why should I share his grief? He is suffering because of his own problems. I just helped myself then.
KaKa, you sound like a person who is not bound by emotions or options? I mean to say, you seem clear in your thought process, do you think that is your strength? And who exactly is KaKa behind all this, behind the crime?
Haha. I think it is a compliment. I am always like that. Since I was a kid, I did what I wanted to do, in my own way. Nothing else. See my parents, were simple people. Their happiness was based only on farming. I came out to get more. I don’t regret things I do. Look, if I did something, I had reasons to do them, at that point in time, so what is the point of regretting it afterwards. And in my business, you just take a decision. And focus on the outcome. Nothing else matters. So maybe it became easier for me to pick either ‘go’ or ‘no-go’. Simple. Is it my strength, maybe? People are stupid when they have options. The more options you give, more chances of mess up. In my business, even today, the successful men are those who can pick one of the two options, and live and die for the option they pick.
But what are the factors which make you choose then? And if not regret, what happens when you fail?
Many actually, (drinks water from the glass put in front of me). Is the problem real? Who are the people affecting? Who is asking? What’s the time bracket? How can we “Package” it? How long can we deal with it? Many factors actually. It all depends on the worth of what do you call it, destiny. Worth of destiny, you see….
…..As our allotted 15 minutes came to an end, the Head Constable got up from his seat and approached our table. I was still hung on the peculiar thing he said, as I collected my tape recorder and notepad. My interviewee stood up, and without a second glance just walked out. I had already applied for a couple more sessions and was promised them in the weeks to come.
As I came back to my hotel and started transcribing what he said, I felt both awe for its audacity to be proud of what he did. Was I a bit taken aback with his honest way of things, of committing a crime with zero remorse or doubt? Maybe. Maybe not. But one thing was sure. I had just started the conversation now. I knew I had to go deep into his psyche, one which he wouldn’t allow that easily.
Unfortunately, my next meeting was unceremoniously cancelled. KaKa had been accused of masterminding another 3 kills outside, and any contact with the outside world was denied to him. His count had come to 173 then. I waited for three more weeks, but neither my contact nor the SI would entertain me. The more I tried the harder it became. At one point, I was asked to submit all my conversations to the police, but luckily that didn’t materialise. And so I left back home. Hopeful that someday I shall come back to bring out the whole story.
That never happened.
Chapter Three – The Strength In My Bones – 2015, Inputs By Hrishab Mukherji
What has a start should have an end. Don’t you think, that’s the whole point of living. If we don’t see that end, it destroys us internally. Perhaps that’s why we weep and wail when someone dies unexpectedly. We aren’t so much grieving the dead, as we are the abrupt ending. And that brings us to the ‘just started’ conversations between my senior and mentor, Mr Jacob R Daniel, and South India’s most notorious contract killer, who went by the name KaKa. I was passed on the whole material by my mentor, some three months back. And here I am in Hyderabad after he leaves for Uganda for a peaceful post-retirement life.
None of the police officers, that my mentor met, are here. Regular transfers make life difficult for everyone. More so for us journalists. We hate the ever-changing scenarios. And so I had to put in an application for a single interview of KaKa, to the Joint Commissioner of Police. After being rejected five times, I finally got lucky.
On 27th August 2015, I had my audience with KaKa, at Chanchalguda Jail (he was moved in here last year). I saw him be an exact reflection of what was written about him. Lean, Frail, and visibly weak. But there was one addition. He wore spectacles now. Round, and thin frame. He was handcuffed this time and locked to one of the table’s legs. SI Rajender, warned me that off late he had become extremely violent, throwing things and screaming sometimes. He had gotten into fights and was beaten up owing to his skeletal body. One look at him, and you knew you were watching a man who had hundreds of sleepless nights. Rumour was that he had been mildly electrocuted once in the previous week. And so there he sat, with a keen stare at me, and only that.
After introducing myself, and reminding him of my mentor from many years earlier, we started talking. I noticed that he had a slur in his words now. That seemed a bit tragic as it would stop him from the free flow of thoughts. I asked my first question continuing the thoughts of my mentor.
Could you tell us, KaKa, about your work? How do you particularly take up contracts? Do you have any preference?
How do I pick someone? It is a long story, you know. So there are stages. One of our people brings us the client. My guys are usually private taxi drivers, call girls, bartenders, security guards, and housemaids. They understand the situation, whe..whe..when, their employers need to get rid of anyone. And they suggest us. They used to suggest us. For every client they brought in, we paid them, 10% of our earning.
In 2009, The Chief Minister was contesting for his next term. The by elections had made a strong wave for him, and it was imperative that he would come out winning the election. One thing that he did brilliantly was ensuring that around backward community voted for him. To them he was a God. The opposition leader was bringing his best strategies forward too. However, in the interior parts of the state, the politics was always a personal game, to be won no matter what. In Khammam, the contesting MLA, saw a weird turn of fate, when his opposition, the retiring MLA, was still defining his rule. His frustration was only escalating, as his competitor offered policies and claims which were quickly getting lapped up. The only way out was ridding him off. That’s when one of his party members, suggested the name Kaka. Professional, and clever, he would ensure that the ruling MLA, would not be a problem anymore.
When they approach us, we make them sign an NDA, for all the things discussed at the meeting. The first meeting would usually be about understanding the client. Was there, Katra or Loafer involved (Katra being public execution and Loafer being Private)? Did they want a silent death for the target or not? After we had confirmed, and the client had signed a separate agreement, we undertook the seco…second..second stage, Getting to understand the target. We usually take up cases which are apparent. Things we may hear before only, about the quarrel or fight between the client and target. Then there is the intention. That is important. It cannot be just random anger. There has to be a true intention to finish off.
How effective it is, I will decide? Kaka replied to the apprehensive MLA aspirant. From the moment he had walked in, there was a lack of intent on the part of the client. KaKa hated that. But then it was an MLA, and not some random fellow. KaKa asked repeatedly, trying to grill him down to his true intention. And after two hours, the MLA aspirant, spoke. He said he couldn’t go forward with murder of his competitor. Instead he said something more dangerous. He said, that if KaKa could arrange for three SI’s to be murdered, within the constituency, then perhaps he could turn it against the present MLA. There could be wave and he could have a very good chance of winning.
The next stage is the one I just hate doing. To wait, that was perhaps the toughest job. I hated it. To wait till I could execute. Behind every successful hit, there were hundreds who were willing to forget their humanity for a couple of days. In those couple of days, we had to pick out a plan and put it into action. So some targets were easy. Businessmen, Politicians and Actors. These were ok. They had schedules and tasks. We could…could..could guess them. I mean, see what they will do next. But someone like Doctors, Police and Rich Kids, were tough. So usually we tried confirming a pattern by kidnapping someone related to them. Then, we control their movement. It’s easier that way. The Packaging is easier then. Packaging is when you have the whole plan in control. I mean, the target has no way of escaping from your plan. Reaching the Package stage is difficult. Rest is easy.
Police were always difficult. The targets were three Sub Inspectors in successive police stations starting from Suryapet. And the factors which made the job nearly impossible was that the time period was only two days. The elections were nearing, and the request from Yadala Gurunanda (MLA Aspirant) was of a public execution. So many factors and so little time. And so KaKa made a plan. SI Ramteja Pundit, received a phone call at his home phone at the midnight. It was a call for a sudden inspection “funds misappropriation” at his police station. As he arrived at the station half an hour later, he saw that the convoy of Electorate commission, consisting of three cars, was already there. SI Ramteja greeted and welcomed them. The convoy was authentic enough to coax anyone into believing it. They had already found a gunny bag full of money within the station. SI Ramteja pleaded that he was innocent. But he had supposedly taken election operations money, which required disciplinary hearing. So they asked him politely to accompany them to the convoy. He was unofficially arrested and taken to Kasumanchi, a place near Khammam. By this time, the three car Convoy had turned to one. At the first stroke of day, he was walked out to the centre of the small village. And in the next few minutes, near Shanti theatre, he was murdered by slitting his throat by a seven-inch dagger. The men, still in crisply tucked shirts, threw the dagger there, and left in the white colored Tata Safari. In spate incidents, one another SI was killed by the next day, and another gravely injured to the point of coma. The apparent conclusion was Naxal armies being prevalent in the army. The fingers started pointing towards the existing MLA. Naxals had become a nuisance which had to solved with any measure possible. The MLA aspirant offered them exactly that.
Sometimes, you know clients ask us for a particular day or time for the killing to take place. That is when we kidnap the target and keep him or her with us. Then we have to deliver. So we charge higher.
On that topic KaKa, how much do you charge for a typical contract? How big is your team and how do you operate? And does it exist even today, after your arrest, for these many years?
We take according to the client. Usually, it is around 7 to 10 lakhs. Once a client approaches us, we do a little research on how much the target deserves/earns/or will earn. Worth of Destiny. One of our clients said that term once, and I like that. Worth Of Destiny, is how much we charge. See, sometimes, we ask and check about the target in Insurance companies, Stockbroking firms, Police departments. If it is businessmen involved, we check their bank visits, asset values, banks and more. We extract as much information as we can. And then fix a price. Usually, for Politicians, we charge around 50 to 60 lakhs straightaway. Because its high risk and we..we…we can’t understand clearly how much the target is worth. Others it depends.
Of all the contracts you have taken Kaka, which ones do you remember clearly? I mean if you can pick a few?
You mean interesting ones. I remember every one of them. That is my job. That is one of the prime reasons I’m alive. And that is one of the main reasons they’ll keep me alive for as long as possible, even when I’m almost dead. But there was this Actress, who wanted her competitor dead. I think her name was Keertana Kumar. She even paid money but cancelled it at the last moment. Clean profit. But, again she called us a week later, asking us to kill herself. She couldn’t commit suicide and therefore, since she had already paid for it, she wanted us to kill her. So that was interesting.
So did you do it? I mean agree to her request?
Yes. Of course. She was beautiful. She was the client and the target. The world thought that her husband killed her, but we did.
But you said, you didn’t go ahead if your client had second thoughts. So then why her?
She didn’t have second thoughts on ending her life. So, we did what we were asked. Others were once, we had a client who almost paid to kill Hyderabadi Cricket Player who was also The Captain of Indian Cricket Team. But he wanted us to wait, till the ver…ver…verdict of the match-fixing case was out. We had to cancel it. You see, conditions on court cases is a headache. Nothing is resolved there.
Another contract was a businessman. His wife had paid us an advance, asking us to get rid of him, so that she could start her own business. The contract wa…was..was only for her husband, but my staff ended up killing her son also. In her grief, she tried threatening us. But thankfully, nothing serious happened. It was a fault on our part. By our means, we could keep her silent.
As I almost came to the end of an hour, which was given to me, the Jailer Inspector, came in and stood quietly at the door. I understood that I was running out of time. I could only ask one more question. This was the last time any journalist could be allowed to talk to KaKa. So I just blurted out a question which I regret asking. I could’ve asked something which was informational. Something which made more sense. But this is what I managed to ask.
You are in a life sentence here. Everything would’ve changed on the outside by the time you are released. What will you do, KaKa when you get released?
I don’t know. I don’t think I will come out. They will kill me. But If I do, I will see your movie. I want to see who is the hero. I want to see how it is made. But I don’t know. I am not interested in what can happen. I am more interested if they keep me alive beyond tomorrow. I will feel powerful then. That means I am still important to them. And they need something from me. That means I am in a position of domination. Worth of Destiny is still good for me, you see.
It took me a while to connect the dots, of this statement and the initial explanation of intent my mentor had with KaKa. The movie.
And thus ended my conversation with KaKa, who was taken away as swiftly as possible by SI Rajender.
In the months to come, I approached different regional and national newspapers to publish my story. To some, it wasn’t exciting enough. It wasn’t great. Maybe it wasn’t. But it was a great exercise to get into the psyche of a reassured man, perhaps the most confident person I had met in a long time. And to see that for some people there was no concept of a grey area. There was either black and white. Either death or not. Either life or not. Life was simpler without choices you see.
Editor’s EndNote By VoxTheFox:
In our pursuit of uncovering stories which we as humans ignore, we came across this collective interview of KaKa. The interviews have been brought to you in the truest manner possible with recorded incidents from Police department included. As this is my first time editing our articles here at Voxspace, we hope you find the non-linear editing non-intrusive and effective. To make this article possible, we would like to thank, Ms Kalpana Tamareddy, regional human rights activist, Mr Jagdish Kumar Singh, Chief Superintendent of Police, Hyderabad Police Commissionerate, Mr Harishchandra Goel, former editor Dainik Jagran for bringing the story to us. We do not intend to glorify or otherwise promote the crime involved/committed by the subject, KaKa. Our intention is to get a peek inside one of the most notorious criminals and what makes for a criminal mind, one which is without doubts or remorse. May Goodness shine through ever..!