Setback to Kadapa MP in Vivekananda Reddy murder case

In a setback to Kadapa MP Y.S. Avinash Reddy, the Telangana High Court on Friday dismissed his petition seeking direction to the CBI not to take any coercive action against him in the murder case of his uncle and former Andhra Pradesh minister Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy.

Refusing to stay further proceedings against him in the case, the court ruled that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) may continue its investigation into the case. It, however, asked the agency to video and audio record questioning of Avinash Reddy, who is a cousin of Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Justice K. Lakshman, who had reserved the order on Monday, pronounced the same on Friday.

The judge also rejected the plea of the MP to allow his lawyer to be present during the questioning. He, however, asked the CBI to allow the lawyer to a point where he can’t see Avinash Reddy.

Avinash had claimed in his writ petition that the CBI is being unfair in its investigation of the murder. He claimed that the CBI was attempting to portray him as the primary conspirator in the murder. He also accused the CBI of not following protocol during questioning. As a result, he filed interim motions exhorting the court to order the CBI not to arrest him in the aforementioned matter.

The MP’s counsel stated that the CBI was not looking into the involvement of N. Rajasekhar Reddy, son-in-law of Vivekananda Reddy and his second wife Shamim. He informed the court that YS Viveka had married Shamim for the second time in 2010. They gave birth to a boy. Viveka’s family was divided as a result of his second marriage. Financial transactions have also resulted in disagreements, the court was told.

Vivekananda Reddy’s daughter Suneetha Reddy had also impleaded in the case. Her counsel had submitted that the allegations made by Avinash Reddy against the CBI and her were baseless as he was only trying to divert the case from the main issue. She alleged that Avinash Reddy was the main conspirator in the murder.

Vivekananda Reddy, younger brother of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, was found murdered mysteriously at his residence at Pulivendula in Kadapa district on March 15, 2019, a month ahead of 2019 general elections.

The 68-year-old former state minister and former MP was alone at his house when unidentified persons barged in and killed him. He was killed hours before he was to launch YSR Congress Party’s election campaign in Kadapa.

The CBI took over the investigation into the case in 2020 on the direction of Andhra Pradesh High Court while hearing a petition of Vivekananda Reddy’s daughter Suneetha Reddy, who raised suspicion about some relatives.

In November last year, the Supreme Court transferred to a CBI court in Hyderabad the trial and probe into the larger conspiracy behind the murder. The apex court observed that doubts raised by Sunitha Reddy about getting a fair trial and investigation in Andhra Pradesh were reasonable.

Avinash Reddy appeared before the CBI for the fourth time on March 14. He was questioned by the agency on January 28, February 24 and March 10.

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