VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday handed over the probe into the murder of former minister Vivekananda Reddy to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and directed it to complete the investigation at the earliest.
The verdict was delivered by Justice U Durgaprasad Rao on a batch of petitions filed by the slain leader’s wife Sowbhagyamma, daughter Sunitha, son-in-law Narreddy Rajasekhar Reddy, and BJP leader C Adinarayana Reddy. In the judgement, the judge observed that there has been no progress in the case even a year after Vivekananda Reddy was murdered.
The brother of late YS Rajasekhara Reddy was found murdered at his residence in Pulivendula on March 15, 2019. Since then, the State government has constituted three special investigation teams. Approximately, 1,300 people were quizzed and narco-analysis tests were conducted on three suspects.
The judge reasoned that the case should be handed over to the CBI as time is of essence in the investigation. “Involvement of some people outside the State could not be ruled out and more than the SIT, CBI has the capacity and wherewithal to bring the accused from other States to book. This is the reason why we are ordering a CBI probe,” the judgement said.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy too had filed a petition in the court when he was in the opposition to hand over the case to the CBI, but recently withdrew the same. The court made it clear that the withdrawal of Jagan’s plea should not affect the investigation.
In their petitions, Vivekananda Reddy’s widow and daughter argued that an investigation by the SIT was not inspiring any confidence and expressed suspicion that the murder was the result of a political conspiracy. They demanded a CBI probe and opposed a memo filed by Jagan in court to the effect that there was no longer any need for a CBI probe into the case.
During the arguments, Advocate General Sriram, appearing on behalf of the government, submitted that Jagan had filed the petition seeking CBI probe when he was in the opposition and insisted that the probe by the SIT was going along the right path. However, the court did not find merit in his arguments.
“SIT has not concluded whether the motive for the murder was political, pecuniary or land disputes.
Vivekananda Reddy was not just a political leader. He also used to oversee real estate and land transactions. That is the reason why there is a suspicion that inter-State accused could be involved. The Supreme Court has clarified in quite a few cases that investigation in such cases should not be delayed. Hence, we are ordering a CBI probe,” the court ruled.