The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Sunday, 16 April, arrested YSRCP MP Avinash Reddy’s father YS Bhaskar Reddy in Kadapa in connection with the murder of former MP YS Vivekananda Reddy in March 2019.
The CBI subsequently produced Bhaskar Reddy, uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, before a judge at his house in Hyderabad, who sent him to 14 days of judicial remand. Bhaskar Reddy is now lodged in Chanchalguda prison.
The CBI is expected to file a petition in the court seeking custody of Bhaskar Reddy.
After arresting him, the CBI shifted him to the Osmania General Hospital (OGH), where the doctors gave him a medical examination.
On seeing Bhaskar Reddy’s high blood pressure levels, the doctors administered him medicines and waited till they reached normal levels. After re-examining him, the CBI produced Bhaskar Reddy before the judge.
Hours after his arrest, the CBI again issued a notice to Avinash Reddy, asking him to appear before it on 17 April at its office in Koti in Hyderabad at 3 pm.
This will be the fourth time that Avinash Reddy will appear before the CBI
Avinash Reddy reacts
Responding to the arrest of his father Bhaskar Reddy, YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy told reporters that the CBI was not conducting the investigation properly.
“The agency declared me an accused even after I provided information to it,” he said.
Vivekananda Reddy’s son-in-law Rajasekhara Reddy would know more about the murder, he said, alleging that the agency was not conducting the investigation based on facts.
“We are shocked at the way my father was arrested. We will certainly prove our innocence,” he said, adding that the CBI was not considering the facts submitted by him.
Vivekananda Reddy, who was found murdered in the bathroom of his house in Kadapa in March 2019, is the uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Bhaskar Reddy and Avinash Reddy’s names figured in the murder case that created a sensation before the Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh in 2019.
Bhaskar Reddy has been charged under Sections 120B (conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as he played a crucial role in the case, according to the CBI.
The probe agency believes he had spoken to the accused before and after the murder.
According to the CBI, the father and son hatched the plot to murder Vivekananda Reddy, popularly known as Viveka, and sheltered the accused.
Their associate Shiva Shankar played a crucial role in erasing evidence, the CBI said in a response filed before the court to oppose the bail of Sunil Yadav, who is an accused in the case.
The CBI, which is probing the murder of Vivekananda Reddy at his residence in Kadapa in March 2019, also said that a ₹40 crore “supari” (contract to kill) was offered to the accused to eliminate Viveka.
Avinash Reddy quizzed thrice
The CBI has already questioned Avinash Reddy thrice, and questioned him again in detail at its office in Koti in Hyderabad.
He has denied the allegation that he was involved in the case
Earlier, he filed a writ petition in the Telangana High Court seeking a direction to stay his examination by the CBI under Section 161 of the CrPC in the case.
In the petition, Avinash Reddy said that an attempt was being made to frame him in the case, though he was not connected to it in any way.
Avinash Reddy also said that there was nothing on record to substantiate the allegation that he was in any way complicit in committing any offence, much less the offence of killing Vivekananda Reddy.
“It is submitted that the investigation being conducted by the IO is not fair and impartial and there is material to conclude that from the beginning I am being implicated in the crime without there being any admissible evidence and by only twisting facts to frame me as being culpable for the crime,” Avinash Reddy said in the petition.
Trial transferred out of Andhra Pradesh
The Supreme Court last November transferred the case from Andhra Pradesh to a Special CBI Court in Hyderabad for investigation and trial into the conspiracy behind the murder case.
The apex court’s decision came on a petition by Viveka’s daughter, Dr Narreddy Suneetha, who had in the past alleged that Avinash Reddy was hampering the CBI probe.
Vivekananda Reddy, the brother of late Congress strongman and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, was found dead under suspicious circumstances at his Pulivendula residence on 15 March, 2019, days before the general elections.
In a charge sheet filed before the court earlier, the CBI stated that Avinash Reddy, along with his associate Devireddy Sivshankar Reddy, floated a theory that Vivekananda Reddy died of a heart attack while in fact he was found in a pool of blood with injuries on his body.
The CBI said Vivekananda Reddy was eying the YSRCP’s Kadapa Lok Sabha ticket for himself, Jagan’s sister YS Sharmila, or his mother YS Vijayalakhmi, instead of Avinash Reddy.
3 SITs, 1,300 witnesses
Before the CBI took up the probe, the Andhra Pradesh government constituted three Special Investigation Teams (SITs) to investigate the murder.
They examined at least 1,300 witnesses and conducted narco analyses on three suspects.
As there was no progress in the case that was being investigated by the SITs, Viveka’s daughter Suneetha approached the courts, seeking directions to hand over the probe to the CBI as she feared that the case would be sabotaged.
The CBI registered a case on 9 July, 2020, on the orders of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, and took over the case registered at Pulivendula Police Station.
It has until now recorded the statements of over 248 people in the case.
The deceased was an MLA from the Puivenduia constituency in 1985 and 1994, a member of the Lok Sabha from the Kadapa Constituency in 1999 and 2004, and a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council in 2009.
He served as the minister of agriculture and a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forest constituted by the government of India in 2005.
After the murder, the police registered an FIR in Pulivendula Urban Police Station Crime No. 84/2019 initially under Section 174 of the CrPC based on the Complaint of MV Krishna Reddy, who was the Personal Assistant of the deceased and subsequently the section of law as altered to Section 302 of the IPC.