Top court orders transfer of trial in murder of  AP CM’s uncle to Hyderabad

In the weeks leading up to the assembly elections, Y S Vivekananda Reddy, the uncle of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, was assassinated at his home on March 15, 2019. The case was initially looked into by a special team of the state Crime Investigation Department before being turned over to the CBI in July 2020 at the high court’s request.

After hearing a petition from Y S Vivekananda Reddy’s daughter, Narreddy Sunitha, a Supreme Court bench of Justices M R Shah and B V Nagarathna ordered the trial’s transfer.

It cannot be said that the apprehension of the petitioner that there may not be [a] fair trial or that there is a larger conspiracy is imaginary. Petitioner has the fundamental right to get justice,” the bench said.

It said the case is fit to be transferred to a state other than Andhra Pradesh. The bench added justice need not only to be done but also seen to be done.

The bench said all chargesheets will be transferred to Hyderabad for the sake of witnesses. It added the First Information Report alleging a larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence will be probed. The bench asked the CBI to complete the probe at the earliest independently and in an unbiased manner.

The deceased former minister’s driver was Dastagiri. He was given anticipatory bail and turned approver four days before the charge sheet was filed.

According to the charge sheet, the murder was caused by a disagreement over a land settlement and election-related problems.

The CBI cited Yerra Gangi Reddy’s assertion that the Kadapa MP Avinash Reddy, his father Bhaskar Reddy, and his friend D Shiv Shankar Reddy were also involved in the murderous scheme.

But since several of the witnesses and those charged filed lawsuits against the investigating agents, the trial in the CBI court barely advanced.

This prompted Sunitha to file a lawsuit with the Supreme Court in April, claiming that individuals who were charged with murder had accused CBI personnel of harassing them.

As the accused could tamper with evidence and were reportedly bullying the CBI officers, Sunitha prayed with the top court to oversee the CBI inquiry. She said that several senior police officers had put pressure on her to give up fighting for the CBI investigation into the murder. She claimed that if the probe was postponed no witness would be called since an accused had passed away. A local court last week heard testimony from the spouse of one of the defendants who was requesting the “inclusion” of Sunitha’s husband Rajasekhar Reddy and five other defendants in the case. She claimed the six made an effort to hide the evidence in order to disguise the true reason for the murder.

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