Viveka murder case: Telangana HC directs CBI to question YSRCP MP Avinash Reddy on 18 April

Avinash Reddy had said he would not appear before the CBI till the court issued directions on his lunch motion petition seeking bail.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Apr 17, 2023 | 8:34 PMUpdatedApr 17, 2023 | 8:53 PM

YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy. (Supplied)

The Telangana High Court on Monday, 17 April, directed the CBI to call YSRCP MP YS Avinash Reddy to its office in Koti for questioning at 4 pm on Tuesday in connection with the case pertaining to the murder of his uncle and former MP YS Vivekananda Reddy.

The MP was supposed to appear before the CBI at 3 pm on Monday, but he moved a lunch motion petition in the Telangana High Court seeking anticipatory bail.

He said he would not appear before the CBI till the court issued directions on the lunch motion petition he filed seeking anticipatory bail.

Vivekananda Reddy, popularly known as Viveka, is also the uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. He was found murdered in his house in Kadapa in March 2019.

Related: CBI arrests Bhaskar Reddy, Avinash called for questioning again

‘Will arrest, if necessary’

Referring to the petition, the court asked why the CBI failed to arrest Avinash Reddy when he appeared before it four times.

When the court asked the investigating agency whether it would arrest Avinash Reddy, the CBI advocate replied that he would be arrested if it was deemed necessary.

The advocate said the crime scene — the bathroom of Viveka — was altered to depict his murder as a cardiac arrest.

After arguments, the court directed the CBI to call him for questioning on Tuesday and posted the matter for the same day, saying that it would pass orders in the case by afternoon.

A few hours before the court orders, the CBI issued a separate notice to Avinash Reddy under Section 160 of the CrPC, asking him to appear before it at 10.30 am on Tuesday.

In the anticipatory bail petition filed in the court, Avinash Reddy said an attempt was being made to implicate him in the case through “Google Takeout” — the data in the Google account of a user.

He said Google Takeout data was absolutely not an accurate technology which could be relied upon, and the data would only show the particular direction and not the person.

‘Unnecessary allegations’

He said the investigating agency, after giving several versions of what happened after the death of Vivekananda Reddy, was trying to level unfounded allegations against him and others.

“There is absolutely no acceptable legal evidence on record or any other incriminating material to connect me with the alleged offence,” he said.

According to the petition, the CBI’s previous investigating officer (IO) threatened witnesses on multiple occasions with fear of incarceration and worse to ensure that Avinash Reddy was framed through the statements of such witnesses.

The witnesses were told to give a version of events that suited IO and implicate Avinash Reddy and other innocent individuals, he said in the petition.

Three individuals — Kalluru Gangadhar Reddy, Mule Venkata Krishna Reddy, and Gajjala Uday Kumar Reddy — have filed private complaints detailing how the previous IO pressured and manhandled them to implicate him and other innocent individuals in their statements, Avinash Reddy added.

Related: CBI appoints new probe team; Supreme Court sets 30 April deadline

Land settlements, illicit relations?

Avinash Reddy, in the anticipatory bail petition, also said that Viveka was forced to do land settlements and diamond business along with his close associates, accused in his murder case, to earn money for his and his second family’s survival.

Avinash Reddy further said the family of Vivekananda removed his cheque power and made him suffer financially for his and his second family’s survival needs.

The investigation clearly revealed that the deceased married a young woman named Shaik Shameem in 2011 and they had a son named Shaik Shahensha, added Avinash Reddy.

“It was mentioned in the statement of Accused turned Approver (A4) Shaik Dasthagiri that before they murdered Viveka, they searched and took some documents, stamp papers with round seals presumed to be the Notarised Wills written in favour of second wife Shaik Shameem and their son Shaik Shahensha,” said Avinash Reddy.

“It was also mentioned in the A4 statement that after thorough verification of documents only, Viveka was finally taken to the bathroom and was hacked to death. This aspect that it may be ‘murder for gain’, amongst several others, was not investigated by the CBI, and the CBI has been maliciously targeting me solely on the Approver’s hearsay statement,” he added in the petition.

Animosity against Shaik Shameem

There was severe animosity between Shaik Shameem and Viveka’s daughter Dr N Suneetha, and son-in-law N Rajasekhar Reddy, said Avinash Reddy.

“Shameem was severely threatened by them on several occasions. It is clearly revealed in the investigation that the deceased promised Shaik Shameem that he will get admission for their son at Hyderabad Public School (HPS) in Hyderabad, will buy a villa close to the school, arrange sufficient money in fixed deposit for the survival of the family,” he added in the petition.

Avinash Reddy appeared before the CBI four times earlier and grilled him for hours to secure information related to the case. The CBI revealed that there was a larger conspiracy in the murder of Vivekananda Reddy in March 2019 and evidence was also destroyed at the scene of the offence.

Avinash Reddy’s father YS Bhaskar Reddy, who was arrested by the CBI in Kadapa on Sunday, is currently in 14 days judicial remand in Chanchalguda prison. On its part, the CBI filed a petition in the special court for CBI cases here seeking 10-day custody of Bhaskar Reddy.

Related: Avinash Reddy files anticipatory bail petition in the Telangana HC

The case

Vivekananda 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.