Viveka murder case: Dramatic events in Kurnool as CBI visits hospital to arrest YSRCP MP Avinash Reddy

CBI sought help from the local Kurnool police to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the event it arrested Avinash Reddy.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 22, 2023 | 3:40 PM Updated May 22, 2023 | 3:40 PM

Avinash Reddy

A high-octane drama was playing out in Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh on Monday, 22 May, with the CBI trying to detain Kadapa YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy and the latter trying his best to avoid arrest.

The CBI wants to interrogate him in connection with the assassination of his uncle and former Andhra Pradesh minister YS Vivekananda Reddy.

Vivekananda Reddy, popularly known as Viveka, was found murdered on the intervening night of 14-15 March, 2019. Viveka is also the paternal uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Drama in Kurnool, petition in Supreme Court

The drama began with CBI officials reaching Viswa Bharathi Hospital in Kurnool in the early hours of Monday, with a clear intent to arrest Avinash Reddy, even as the Lok Sabha member again unsuccessfully knocked on the doors of the Supreme Court on Monday for anticipatory bail.

The vacation bench of the Supreme Court refused to take up his petition for a hearing, on the grounds that it was not on the mentioned list. The court suggested that he approach the concerned officer on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Avinash Reddy again wrote to the CBI on Monday, seeking time till 27 May to appear before officials of the central investigation agency as he was attending to his indisposed mother who is admitted in the Kurnool hospital.

He also brought to the CBI’s notice that his petition for anticipatory bail would come up before the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The CBI is yet to react to his letter.

In Kurnool, in the early hours of Monday, the CBI had requested the local police for support as the investigation agency suspected resistance from the YSRCP cadres and supporters of Avinash Reddy.

The CBI also sought measures from the police to prevent a breakdown of law and order in the event it finally arrested him.

Related: In fresh notice, CBI asks Avinash Reddy to report to its office

Party workers obstruct CBI officials

As the CBI team arrived in two cars, the YSRCP workers tried to obstruct them from coming anywhere near the hospital.

After reaching the hospital, the CBI officials reportedly exhorted Kurnool SP G Krishna Kanth to persuade Avinash Reddy to surrender before them.

They are believed to have given in writing that they wanted to arrest him and sought the help of the local police, in case any trouble breaks out.

Avinash Reddy has been with his mother Srilakshmi, attending to her after she complained of cardiac pain on 19 May.

He was, in fact, supposed to appear before the CBI in Hyderabad on that day, but sought time since he was on his way to his home town Pulivendula as his mother fell ill.

Meanwhile, his relatives began moving her to a hospital in an ambulance and midway, near Dhone, Avinash Reddy moved to the ambulance and later admitted her to Viswa Bharathi Hospital in Kurnool.

Meanwhile, the CBI, conceding his request for time, asked him to appear before it on 22 May.

Also read: Telangana HC denies Avinash anticipatory bail citing SC order

Avinash Reddy seeks more time

Though Avinash Reddy said that he would be able to cooperate with the CBI, he, however, sent a mail on Sunday night that he would not be able to appear before them even on May 22 since he had to be with her as she was under treatment.

He had said that since his father, Bhaskar Reddy, was in jail in the same case, there was no one to take care of his mother. He wanted at least 10 days.

The CBI, suspecting that he was trying to avoid arrest by making one excuse or the other, arrived at the Viswa Bharati Hospital in Kurnool, intending to arrest him.

According to sources, Avinash Reddy was trying to buy time and had sought 10 days’ reprieve since his anticipatory bail petition would also be coming up in the Telangana High Court after its summer vacation, on 5 June.

Meanwhile, his effort to seek a direction from the Supreme Court to the high court vacation bench to hear his petition for anticipatory bail was unsuccessful.

The court said the petition has to come up in its regular course and that it cannot have an urgent hearing on it.

The CBI officials going to the hospital lent credence to the suspicion they wanted to detain him, as the premier investigation agency filed a petition in the Telangana High Court that there was a need to arrest Avinash Reddy and question him for his suspected role in the assassination of his uncle.

Also read: 2020 statement by YS Vivekananda’s 2nd wife surfaces

CBI tracing location of murder weapon

The CBI, in its counter in court to his bail plea, said it wanted to find out from him the location of the axe which was used to hack Vivekananda Reddy to death.

The CBI said it wanted to question him on the transactions amounting ₹4 crore that took place prior to the assassination.

It also wanted to know his connection with Sunil Yadav, an accused in the case. It said it wanted to know why Sunil Yadav went to Avinash’s residence on the day of the murder.

Vivekananda Reddy was found hacked to death at his home in Pulivendula in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh on the morning of March 15, 2019, ahead of the general elections.

In his petition in the high court, Avinash Reddy argued that he had nothing to do with Vivekananda Reddy’s murder but was framed based on the statement of an accused, Dastagiri, who had turned approver.

But the CBI said in its counter that it had other evidence besides Dastagiri’s statement that Avinash Reddy had a role in the murder.

The CBI said that Avinash Reddy, his father Bhaskar Reddy, their aide Devireddy Sivasankar Reddy, Udaya Kumar Reddy, and Yerra Gangi Reddy played key roles in destroying evidence at the residence of Vivekananda Reddy, and later tried to paint it as a case of death occurring due to cardiac arrest.

Developments in the case

Yerra Gangi Reddy, the prime accused in the case, whose bail was cancelled by the Telangana High Court, surrendered before the CBI on 5 May.

The investigating agency then produced him before the Special Court for CBI cases, which remanded him to judicial custody till 2 June.

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) for playing 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 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 also said that a ₹40 crore “supari” (contract to kill) was offered to the accused to eliminate Viveka.

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.