It's a tale of two encounters 11 years apart with many similarities -- both in December and both featuring V C Sajjanar in a central role.
Cyberabad Commissioner Sajjanar, who was hailed by many as a hero on Friday for the killing of four men accused in the gangrape and murder of a Hyderabad veterinarian, was superintendent of police in 2008.
The story began in Warangal on December 10 that year. Swapnika and T Pranitha, both electrical engineering students, were riding home on a two-wheeler when three youths on a motorcycle came alongside and threw sulphuric acid on them.
Swapnika, who was riding pillion, was the target and took the full impact of the acid squirted from a plastic bottle. Pranitha, who was wearing a helmet, was not so badly injured.
The incident led to protests across what was then unified Andhra Pradesh and the clamour for justice.
Sajjanar, a 1996 batch IPS officer, headed the probe. Soon, three men -- S.Srinivas, D Sanjay and P Harikrishna -- were arrested.
Three days later came the news about the three being killed in the encounter, propelling Sajjanar to the status of instant hero.
At the time, Sajannar told reporters that a police team had taken the accused to the place where they had hidden the stolen motorbike and the acid bottle used in the attack.
"They suddenly took out a country-made weapon and tried to open fire and also threw acid on policemen. The police opened fire in self-defence, killing all the three accused," he had said.
A similar story played out on Friday.
"... all the four accused got together, they started attacking the police party with stones, sticks, and other material. And they also they snatched away weapons from our two officers and started firing," Sajjanar said.
Police will complete investigations into the case and submit a chargesheet in the case before a court in Telangana. All the accused will be mentioned as accused in column number two -- for people who could not be brought to trial due to their death.
The incident took place around 6.30 am when the accused, lorry workers aged between 20 and 24, were taken to the scene of the crime near Hyderabad for a reconstruction of events as part of the investigation, a senior police official said.
The four men were arrested on November 29 for allegedly raping and killing the woman by smothering her and later burning her body.