SC transfers ex-Andhra minister’s murder case trial to special CBI court in Hyd

The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred the trial of the 2019 murder of former Andhra Pradesh Minister Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy from Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh to a special CBI court in Hyderabad, Telangana.

Vivekananda Reddy was the uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

A bench headed by Justice M.R. Shah allowed a petition filed by Suneetha Narreddy, daughter of the deceased, seeking a direction to transfer the case.

“Under the circumstances, we are of the opinion that this is a fit case to transfer the trial and further investigation on larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence to the state other than the state of Andhra Pradesh,” said the bench, also comprising justice M.M. Sundresh.

The bench said, “As per the settled position of law, justice is not to be done but justice is seen to have been done also. As per the settled position of law, free and fair trial is sine qua non of Article 21 of the Constitution. If the criminal trial is not free and fair and if it is biased, judicial fairness and the criminal justice system would be at stake, shaking the confidence of the public in the system.”

The bench said the petitioners being daughter and wife of the deceased have a fundamental right to get justice as victims and they have a legitimate expectation that the criminal trial is being conducted in a fair and impartial manner and uninfluenced by any extraneous considerations.

“Considering the aforesaid facts and circumstances, it cannot be said that apprehension on the part of the petitioners being daughter and wife of the deceased that there may not be a fair trial and that there may not be any independent and fair investigation with respect to further probe on a larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence at the scene of incident is imaginary and/or has no substance at all,” said the bench.

The top court also ordered the CBI to complete the investigation with regard to the larger conspiracy at the earliest “in an independent and unbiased manner”.

The bench said, “The CBI is also directed to complete the investigation in the aforesaid FIR on the larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence, as observed by the high court earlier, at the earliest and it goes without saying that it must be done independently and in an unbiased manner.”

Suneetha moved the Supreme Court seeking a detailed investigation into her father’s murder and transfer of trial.

The bench said for the ease of witnesses, the case would be transferred to the special CBI court in Hyderabad and all the charge sheets and supplementary charge sheets will be transferred there. The FIR on larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence to be probed by the CBI, it ordered.

In March 2019, Vivekananda Reddy was found dead under mysterious circumstances at his home in Pulivendula. The Andhra Pradesh High Court had handed over the case to the CBI in March 2020.

20221129-225202

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