In a nerve-wracking see-saw battle with CBI, Andhra Pradesh MP YS Avinash Reddy has had the last laugh. The Telangana High Court, on Wednesday, 31 May, sanctioned him anticipatory bail.
He is wanted by the CBI for his suspected role in the killing of his uncle and former Andhra Pradesh Minister YS Vivekananda Reddy at his Pulivendula residence in the Kadapa district on the intervening night of 14-15 March, 2019, on the eve of the general elections.
The conditional bail granted by Justice M Laskhman of the Telangana High Court rings down the curtain on the high voltage drama that has been going on for the last many days, with the CBI sleuths attempting to arrest him after he failed to appear before them, and the Kadapa YSRCP Parliamentarian giving them the slip.
Vivekananda Reddy, popularly known as Viveka, was also the paternal uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Lists of conditions
The cat-and-mouse game came to an end when the Telangana High Court granted anticipatory bail with the provision that Avinash Reddy could not leave the country without clearance from the CBI and that he should not influence witnesses in the case.
The court also laid down that he has to cooperate with the CBI in its investigation of the case and he has to appear before the CBI every Saturday from `10 am to 5 pm, till June 30, the court-imposed deadline on the CBI to complete its investigation into the sensational murder.
The court also said whenever the CBI summons him, he should make himself available for questioning.
It added that if the CBI had to arrest him, it should set him free after making him sign a bond of ₹5 lakh.
CBI free to seek bail cancellation
In case Avinash Reddy violates any of the bail conditions, the CBI is free to seek cancellation of the anticipatory bail granted to him.
Avinash Reddy moved the Telangana High Court on 17 April for anticipatory bail, but could get the bail only after the intervention of the Supreme Court which asked the vacation count to hear the petition.
Accordingly, the high court began hearing the arguments on 26 May which went on till the next day afternoon.
The court then said that it would deliver the final verdict on 31 May, while asking the CBI not to take any stringent measures against him amid the hearing.
The CBI has so far questioned Avinash Reddy seven times in connection with his suspected role in the murder of Vivekananda Reddy.
He, however, did not turn up for yet another session of questioning on 19 May. He sought time from the CBI as he has to attend to his ailing mother. Summoned again on 22 May, he failed to make an appearance yet again.
The case so far
Viveka was murdered in his bathroom in his house in Pulivendula in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh in 2019.
Avinash Reddy’s and his father Bhaskar Reddy’s names figured in the murder case that created a sensation before the Assembly elections and general 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 CBI also said that a ₹40 crore “supari” (contract to kill) was offered to the accused to eliminate Viveka.
Initially probed by as many as three Special Investigation Teams (SIT), the Supreme Court finally transferred the case from Andhra Pradesh to a Special CBI Court in Hyderabad last November 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 Sunitha Reddy, who had in the past alleged that Avinash Reddy was hampering the CBI probe.
Sunitha Reddy was also instrumental in having the investigation, which was being probed by SITs set up by the Andhra Pradesh police, transferred to the CBI.
Meanwhile, the CBI, in its counter filed in the high court, opposing anticipatory bail to YSRCP MP Avinash Reddy, mentioned about his mobile phone calls from 6 pm on 14 March to 8 am on 15 March, 2019.