A Hyderabad court on Sunday sent Andhra politician Y.S. Bhaskar Reddy, arrested earlier in the day in connection with the 2019 murder case of his cousin and former Andhra Pradesh minister Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, to 14 days judicial custody. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which arrested Bhaskar Reddy from Pulivendula town in Andhra Pradesh's Kadapa district early on Sunday, brought him to Hyderabad and produced before a magistrate who sent him to judicial custody till April 29.
Bhaskar Reddy, father of Kadapa MP Y.S. Avinash Reddy, was shifted to Chanchalguda Central Jail. Before producing Bhaskar Reddy at the magistrate's residence, the CBI took him to Osmania General Hospital for medical check-up. His blood pressure was found to be high. His lawyers informed the magistrate about his ill-health. The magistrate asked them to show medical certificates to jail superintendents for appropriate action.
Bhaskar Reddy was arrested early Sunday from his residence in Pulivendula town by the CBI amid high drama. A team of CBI officials went to his residence and handed a memo to his family members informing them that they are arresting him under Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 120 B read with 302 and 201. A large number of Bhaskar Reddy's followers had gathered at his residence at the time of the arrest. Some of the supporters reportedly tried to stop the vehicle when he was being shifted to Hyderabad.
Supporters of Bhaskar Reddy and Avinash Reddy later took out a rally in the town to protest the arrest. Shops and business establishments were closed. Avinash Reddy, who reached Pulivendula from Hyderabad, alleged that the CBI ignored key facts in the case to project them as accused in the case. Bhaskar Reddy's arrest came two days after police arrested G. Uday Kumar Reddy, a close follower of Avinash Reddy.
The CBI expedited the pace of investigation after the Supreme Court last week constituted a new Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the agency and directed it to complete the investigation by April 30.
Vivekananda Reddy, brother of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and uncle of present Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, was found murdered at his residence in Pulivendula of Kadapa district on the night of March 15, 2019, a few days before the elections. The 68-year-old former state minister and former MP was alone at his house when unidentified persons barged in and killed him.
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. The Supreme Court transferred the case to Hyderabad in November last year while observing that doubts raised by Suneetha Reddy about getting a fair trial and investigation in Andhra Pradesh were reasonable.
In an affidavit filed in the Telangana High Court in February while opposing the bail petition of Sunil Yadav, one of the accused, the CBI had claimed that Avinash Reddy, Bhaskara Reddy and their follower D. Siva Sankar Reddy had hatched a criminal conspiracy to kill Vivekananda Reddy over conflicting political ambitions.
Avinash Reddy and Bhaskar Reddy allegedly had a grouse against Vivekananda Reddy as the latter was opposed to the YSRCP fielding Avinash Reddy as the party candidate from Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency. The former minister wanted Jagan Mohan Reddy to field his sister Y.S. Sharmila or mother Y.S. Vijayamma.
The CBI claimed that Rs 40 crore was offered to the other accused to carry out the murder. The investigating agency also stated in its counter that Vivekananda Reddy was not happy with his brother Bhaskar Reddy and nephew Avinash Reddy as they had sabotaged his chances in MLC election in 2017 in Kadapa. Avinash Reddy and his father wanted Siva Sankar as MLC candidate but when Jagan Mohan Reddy fielded Vivekananda Reddy, the trio ensured he was defeated.