In a major relief to YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy, the Telangana High Court, on Tuesday, 18 April, directed the CBI not to arrest him till 25 April in connection with the murder case of his uncle and former MP YS Vivekananda Reddy.
The court — in its interim orders delivered after completing the arguments in the petition filed by Avinash Reddy seeking anticipatory bail — asked him to appear before the CBI daily till 25 April.
It also directed the premier investigating agency to submit the audio and video recordings to it along with the questionnaire prepared to grill Avinash Reddy.
The court also asked him to cooperate with the CBI investigators.
‘Cooperate with CBI’
Avinash Reddy had to appear before the CBI at its office in Koti at 4 pm on Tuesday.
However, he failed to appear before it since the arguments over his anticipatory bail continued till 4.30 pm in the high court.
The CBI public prosecutor argued that Avinash Reddy might influence witnesses if bail was granted to him, and added that the probe agency already collected scientific evidence against him.
Avinash Reddy was not cooperating during the investigation, he said.
He brought to the notice of the court that Avinash Reddy was not responding when he was questioned four times after appearing before the CBI which found that ₹40 crore was offered to eliminate Vivekananda Reddy.
He stated that Avinash Reddy also attempted to destroy evidence with the help of others, and requested the court not to grant him anticipatory bail.
He informed the court that the CBI must complete the probe by 30 April.
When it was brought to the court’s notice that Avinash Reddy must be questioned at 4 pm on Tuesday, it asked how he would be questioned when the CBI’s investigating officer was in court.
The CBI said that he would be summoned at 10.30 am on Wednesday.
‘Why was Dastagir’s bail not opposed?’
The defence lawyer, who argued on behalf of the YSRCP MP, asked why Vivekananda Reddy’s daughter Suneetha did not oppose the bail granted to key accused Dastagir, who confessed that he killed Vivekananda Reddy.
According to him, the CBI was depending on the second statement of Dastagir, who did not refer to the name of Avinash Reddy in his first statement.
“Why were details of Vivekananda Reddy’s second marriage not mentioned in the charge sheet?” he asked.
The details related to properties that were transferred to the name of the second wife of Vivekananda Reddy, cancellation of cheque power to Vivekananda Reddy by the family members, failure to focus on the role of TDP leaders in the case and missing of a few documents from the spot on the intervening night of 14 and 15 March, 2019 were not investigated properly, the defence lawyer said.
He asked why a letter was hidden following instructions from Suneetha’s husband Rajashekhar till he reached the spot and why clean chit was given to Vivekananda Reddy’s driver.
‘Trying to implicate Avinash Reddy’
Without considering all these aspects, the CBI was attempting to implicate Avinash Reddy in the case, the lawyer added.
Four reasons for Vivekananda Reddy’s murder were explained to the court in detail by the defence lawyer: The issue pertaining to the business rivalry with Gangi Reddy, the second marriage of Vivekananda Reddy and subsequently changing his name, disputes with another accused Sunil Yadav and political reasons after losing MLC elections.
When the lawyer of Suneetha, who filed an implead petition, presented arguments, the defence lawyer asked why Suneetha failed to oppose the statement given by Dastagir to press persons.
In a related development, the CBI court on Tuesday granted six days custody of the CBI of two arrested persons — YS Bhaskar Reddy, father of Avinash Reddy and Uday Kumar Reddy.
The court gave the order in response to a petition filed by the CBI seeking 10 days custody of the arrested.
Vivekananda Reddy, the uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, was found murdered in the bathroom of his house in Kadapa in March 2019.
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 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.