[YS Vivekananda Reddy murder case] Top Court sets aside HC order directing CBI to provide questionnaire to accused MP YS Avinash Reddy

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In anticipation of his arrest, Avinash Reddy had approached the High Court which reserved its order till tomorrow, April 25, while granting him protection from arrest till then.

The Supreme Court today set aside the Telangana High Court order whereby the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was directed to conduct the investigation in the murder case of YS Vivekananda Reddy, by giving a proposed questionnaire to accused MP YS Avinash Reddy.

"An order of this nature will stultify the investigation. High Court cannot order investigation of a suspect should be in written form and this is completely inappropriate to order this questionnaire to be given to first respondent. Such orders prejudice the investigation especially when CBI is ascertaining the role of several accused. These directions of High Court were unwarranted and are set aside", a bench of CJI Chandrachud and Justice Narasimha observed.

The bench also set aside the interim protection granted to Reddy. Furthermore, the court refused to accept Senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar's request the grant the accused politician protection for 24 hrs. 

"If CBI wanted to arrest you, they would have done it long back, they have showed utmost restraint in this matter", the CJI added.

At the beginning of the hearing, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioner, Suneetha Narreddy, Vivekananda's daughter, had told Court, "This is the questionnaire that the accused has been given in advance, on the High Court's direction. This is not how an investigation is to be done. CBI is supporting us. Its an absurdity, never seen something this."

Hearing this the CJI remarked, "Is this the standard of investigation, We might as well WIND UP THE CBI!"

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the accused had told court that his client was appearing before CBI since January 28. "They are asking me repetitive questions, when High Court was told about it, they said if CBI is asking repetitive questions, then you provide us a transcript of the questions that have been asked..", Rohatgi had added.

Court refused to accept such submission and said, "So in cases where CBI and ED both are involved.. we might as well ask them to give us the same chargesheet, no need to make separate ones.."

While setting aside the impugned order, the Supreme Court today added that the writ petition pending before High Court would not be influenced by its order. Also, CBI has been asked to wrap up the investigation by June.

Vivekananda Reddy was a member of the Indian National Congress and the brother of the late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. Reddy was found to have been murdered at his house is Kadapa district in March 2019.

The case was initially probed by a special investigation team (SIT) of the state crime investigation department but was later handed over in July 2020 to the Central Bureau of Investigation, which filed a charge sheet in October 2021 and a supplementary charge sheet in January 2022.

In October 2021, CBI had submitted a chargesheet before Judicial Magistrate First Class. The chargesheet submitted Avinash Reddy and his father as suspects in the conspiracy to commit murder of the deceased.

Case Title:  Suneetha Narreddy vs. YS Avinash Reddy