Controversial evangelist KA Paul was arrested by the Ongole police on Monday morning. The Prakasam district police said that Mr Paul had tried to bribe police officers so that he could escape legal action in the murder of his brother David Raj.
Mr Paul was taken into custody from a hotel in Ongole town and was presented before a local court which remanded him to two weeks in judicial custody. While being taken away by the police, Mr Paul said he was being targetted because the Praja Shanti Party that he started was doing very well in the run-up to by-polls in the state.
Two years ago, Mr Paul's brother David Raj's body was found under suspicious circumstances in February 2010 in Mahabubnagar district. The police said that a dispute between the two brothers over property had led to the murder.
It is said that Koteshwara Rao, Mr Paul's aide, who had allegedly played a key role in the murder of Mr Raj, was reportedly trying to blackmail Mr Paul. The evangelist allegedly decided to eliminate Mr Rao and offered one crore rupees as bribe to the local circle inspector to kill him in an encounter.
Three lakh rupees were said to have been already paid and this was reportedly filmed secretly by a police officer and based on this evidence, Mr Paul was arrested, the police said.
Mr Paul, however, alleged that he was arrested under a conspiracy by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and YSR Congress Party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.
The evangelist had made a sensational allegation in 2009 that the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy had demanded Rs 20 crore from him for the Congress Party's poll campaign. Reiterating his allegation last month, Mr Paul alleged that when he refused to oblige, Rajasekhara Reddy started harassing him by booking cases against him and seizing his bank accounts.
Mr Paul's influence grew when Chandrababu Naidu was the chief minister. He was also close to the then Lok Sabha speaker GMC Balayogi and several other politicians.