Viveka murder case: SC asks CBI to place on record a copy of charge sheet filed in the case

Court asked CBI to file its reply on a petition by Reddy's daughter challenging bail granted to YSRCP MP Avinash Reddy.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jul 18, 2023 | 6:51 PM Updated Jul 18, 2023 | 6:51 PM

YS Vivekananda Reddy. was found dead in the bathroom of his house in Kadapa on 15 March 2019. (Supplied)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, 18 July, asked the CBI to file its response to a petition challenging the Telangana High Court’s 31 May order granting pre-arrest bail to YSRCP’s Kadapa MP YS Avinash Reddy in the sensational YS Vivekananda Reddy murder case.

Posting the matter for the week commencing on 11 September, a bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Bela M Trivedi asked the investigating agency to place on record a copy of the charge sheet filed before the Special CBI court in Hyderabad, and the case diary.

The apex court issued the directive based on a petition by Dr Suneetha Narreddy, Vivekananda Reddy’s daughter.

Vivekananda Reddy, popularly known as Viveka and one of the brothers of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, was found murdered at his residence in Pulivendula in Kadapa district on the intervening night of 14-15 March, 2019, weeks before the Assembly elections in the state.

“Counsel for CBI seeks time to file a reply. CBI is granted two weeks to file a reply. Along with the reply, the CBI shall also produce the charge sheet filed in the case and submit a copy of the original case files in a sealed cover. Copy of reply of CBI is served on petitioners and core respondents and liberty granted to file their counter-affidavits within three weeks from service,” the bench ordered.

Related: CBI files 3rd supplementary chargesheet; likely to ask for extension

Chargesheet filed in June

CBI’s counsel submitted to the court that the charge sheet had been filed in June. The bench then asked the lawyer to place on record the charge sheet. Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra appeared for the petitioner.

The investigation in the case was handed over to the CBI on the high court’s direction and the Supreme Court had shifted the trial in the case from Andhra Pradesh to Hyderabad, Telangana. A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Andhra police was probing the case before the CBI took it over.

In one of the earlier hearings, Narreddy had told the apex court that Avinash Reddy was the main conspirator in her father’s murder. Avinash Reddy is accused No 8 in the case.

Challenging the 31 May high court order, the petitioner sought the cancellation of Avinash Reddy’s anticipatory bail on 10 counts that included non-cooperation and obstructing the investigation, evasion of arrest, destruction of evidence from the scene of the crime, projecting a story that Vivekanand Reddy had died of cardiac arrest, putting pressure on the police not to act (consequently, the high court entrusted the investigation to the CBI on 11 March 2020), influencing the investigation, misusing and abusing the state machinery, threatening and influencing the witnesses, and intimidating the investigators.

Related: Avinash Reddy is now listed by CBI as Accused No 8

More time sought for probe

She has also sought an extension for the CBI to complete the investigation into the larger conspiracy in the murder. The top court had on 24 April ordered the CBI to conclude the probe by 30 June.

Opposing the high court order, Narreddy said that the court after holding a “mini-trial and giving findings/making comments on the merits of the prosecution case” virtually accepted the entire case of Avinash Reddy, while disregarding the evidence collected by the CBI.

Alleging non-cooperation by Avinash Reddy in the investigation of the case, the petition says that he did not appear before the investigating agency on the last three occasions despite notices by the CBI.

The petitioner alleged that Avinash Reddy, along with other accused, “successfully” tampered with evidence by “destroying the scene of offence in the presence of the state police and had propagated the story that the deceased had died due of heart attack”.

The petition said that Avinash Reddy had put pressure on the police for not registering an FIR and only an inquest under S. 174 Cr.PC was started.

Related: SC seeks Avinash response on a plea seeking cancellation of bail

Previous hearings

On 13 June, the top court had deferred hearing on the plea.

Narreddy had earlier submitted before the court that the top court had directed the CBI to conclude its probe in her father’s murder case by 30 June but the high court, on the other hand, had granted anticipatory bail to Avinash Reddy.

On 9 June, the top court agreed to hear Narreddy’s plea after her lawyer mentioned it for urgent listing.

The Telangana High Court granted anticipatory bail to Avinash Reddy on 31 May and directed him not to leave the country without the CBI’s permission till the investigation was complete.

“The petitioner shall cooperate with the investigation and appear before the CBI every Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm till the end of June 2023, and shall regularly appear as and when he is required for investigation,” the high court had said.

The petitioner shall be released on bail in the event of his arrest by the CBI on the execution of a personal bond of ₹5 lakh with two sureties for a like sum each to the satisfaction of the federal agency, the high court order had said. Reddy was subsequently arrested and released.

Avinash Reddy is under the CBI scanner and has been examined by the agency several times this year.

Recent developments

In a related development, the CBI produced half a dozen people, including Avinash Reddy’s father YS Bhaskar Reddy, before the court, following the completion of their judicial remand.

The key accused — Yerra Gangi Reddy, Shivashankar Reddy, Sunil Yadav, Umashankar Reddy, and Uday Kumar Reddy — were among the six produced before the court, which extended their judicial remand for 14 days.

The accused were later lodged in Chanchalguda Central Jail.

On 16 June, the court extended the judicial remand of the six accused arrested in connection with the case till 30 June.

The CBI arrested Avinash Reddy’s father Bhaskar Reddy on 16 April in Kadapa for his alleged role in Viveka’s murder and, since then, he has been lodged in prison.

Related: ₹40 crore ‘supari’ offered by accused, CBI tells Telangana High Court

Details of the case

Vivekananda Reddy was the uncle of the accused Avinash Reddy as well as Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The case was initially probed by a SIT of the state’s Crime Investigation Department (CID) but the case was handed over to the CBI in July 2020.

The CBI filed a charge sheet in the murder case on 26 October, 2021, and followed it up with supplementary charge sheets on 31 January, 2022 and 29 June, 2023.