Even as the city police were widening the dragnet for him, Chiranjeevi’s estranged son-in-law Sirish Bharadwaj managed to evade them and hid in an ashram at Medchal on the city outskirts before his surrender. He was also reported to have taken shelter earlier in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Shirdi and Visakhapatnam. After dodging the police for long, he finally surrendered before the Nampally Criminal Court last week.
It is learnt that the money that Chiranjeevi family members used to give his wife Srija came in handy for him. A day after questioning Sirish, highly placed police sources told TOI that he had collected over Rs 50 lakh from his in-laws in the last few years by pestering his wife. “Chiranjeevi’s family members used to regularly give money to Srija, who would seek it at the behest of Sirish. Using that, Sirish even started an event management firm, Titoo, at Banjara Hills in January last. However, over a period of time she became vexed with his behaviour,” they said.
Besides obtaining Sirish’s confession about collecting money from Chiranjeevi’s family, the police reportedly gathered evidence that he even beat up Srija on several occasions. “She sufferered an injury in the eye when he attacked her in an inebriated state. She took treatment at Max Vision and subsequently her injury heeled. We gathered medical records also. It was found that Sirish used to frequently physically assault and pick up arguments with his wife in an inebriated condition,” the sources added.
During the investigation, the police learnt that Srija used to send SMSes to her friends and parents whenever she was depressed due to marital problems, especially after physical attacks. During the sangeet function of Allu Arjun’s marriage at Taj Krishna, Sirish reportedly came drunk to the venue and created a scene by asking his wife to come out of the venue.
Police also said Sirish continued to maintain during the questioning that he failed to understand why Srija deserted her. “He kept telling that he was at his office in Banjara Hills on that day. When he returned home, he was told that she had left the house. Since then, Srija has been avoiding Sirish,” an official said.
Meanwhile, the Mahila Court of the Nampally Criminal Court on Tuesday granted bail to Sirish. He was directed to appear before the CCS officials until investigation is over. Sirish is facing charges under the 498-A (dowry harassment) of the IPC. TOI