Hyderabad: Chittoor Mayor Katari Anuradha was brutally murdered and her husband Katari Mohan was critically injured in an attack on Tuesday by three men allegedly wearing burqas, police said.
The three men barged into the office of the Chittoor Municipal Corporation in Andhra Pradesh and attacked the couple, both leaders of the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
According to witnesses, the attackers opened fire at point blank range and also attacked the couple with knives and daggers as some corporators and others present there watched in horror.
While Anuradha, who was shot in the head, succumbed while being taken to a hospital, her husband was in critical condition.
Mohan was first taken to a hospital in Chittoor and later shifted to the Christian Medical College (CMC) Hospital in Vellore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
The three attackers, suspected to be from Karnataka, later surrendered before police.
Police seized a locally-made firearm and burqas from the scene.
Mohan's supporters suspect the involvement of his brother-in-law Chandrasekhar alias Chintu. He reportedly had some financial dispute with the couple.
An irate mob later set afire a few vehicles at Chintu's house.
Police believe it was a well-planned attack as the mayor's gunman was not present and the CCTV cameras in the municipal office were not functioning.
Mohan is the prime accused in the case of attempt to murder of former legislator C.K. Jayachandra Reddy alias C.K. Babu. Chintu is also an accused in the case.
Babu, a four-time legislator who dominated Chittoor politics for long, had escaped but two people including his gunman died in the attack in 2007. Babu quit the Congress and joined the YSR Congress party last year.
Tension gripped the town following the killing. Police deployed additional forces to prevent any untoward incident. The borders with neighbouring states Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were sealed.
Home Minister Chinna Rajappa rushed to Chittoor. Senior police officials visited the crime scene and launched an investigation.
Chittoor is the home district of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who condemned the attack terming it "inhuman".
Naidu told reporters in Vijayawada that the guilty would be brought to book and punished no matter how powerful they are.