Police said the three suspects -- S. Srinivasa Rao, B. Sanjay and P. Hari Krishna -- had been taken by officers to a location near Mamnoor Village Friday night to recover a two-wheeler stolen from the college were the two girls attended classes, The Hindu reported on its Web site. Police said the suspects picked up a container of acid, a gun and knives hidden near the stolen vehicle, forcing the officers to shoot them, The Hindu said.
"They tried to throw acid at the policemen and attacked them with a country-made revolver and knives. The policemen fired in retaliation, killing the three," V.C. Sajjanar of the Warangal police said.
Authorities allege Rao admitted following his arrest Friday that he targeted one of the girls for spurning his affections, attacking her and a friend Dec. 10 as they returned home. The targeted girl was in critical condition and her friend suffered disfigurement.
The Hindustan Times reported the father of one of the slain men alleged a set-up by police. Human rights activists K. Balagopal and Jeevan Kumar also condemned the police.
Home Minister K. Jana Reddy said he was awaiting a report before deciding on a formal inquiry.
"Whether it was a fake encounter or not is a secondary issue," said V. Jhansi of the BJP's women's wing. "They committed a brutal crime against women."