More than four years after two-time MP and two-time MLA YS Vivekananda Reddy was murdered, it is not clear who dared to kill a member of the now Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s family. While the CBI is chasing the killers, the chief minister’s family is caught up in a net of slander and lies.
YS Avinash Reddy, the Kadapa MP and prime accused in the murder of his uncle Vivekananda Reddy, has circulated a video floating two theories for the killing: murder-for-gain and the victim’s alleged extra-marital relations.
But his cousin, YS Sharmila Reddy, insists there is no property angle behind the crime.
Sharmila, younger sister of Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy, revealed some days back that all the properties of Vivekananda Reddy were transferred to his daughter Sunitha Narreddy a long back.
Without naming the Sakshi media group run by the chief minister’s wife and her sister-in-law Bharati Reddy, Sharmila took potshots at the media house for tarnishing the image of the “dead soul”.
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A TV channel and a newspaper of the Sakshi group have run a series of stories spinning around the alleged extra-marital relations of the victim that allegedly led to his killing.
The stories focused on the victim’s purported second marriage with a Muslim woman, with a needle of suspicion directed at the dead man’s son-in-law, N. Rajasekhar Reddy. Subsequently, Avinash Reddy, the MP, accused Rajasekhar Reddy of eliminating Vivekananda Reddy after he tried to bequeath a share in the property to a son born to the Muslim woman.
N Tulasi Reddy, a contemporary of YS Rajasekhar Reddy or YSR, the late chief minister-father of the current chief minister, told The Federal: “Sharmila’s statement clearly indicates political motives and feuds within the YS family behind the murder.”
The brutal murder was reported on March 15, 2019, hardly a month before the last general elections. It has become a high-profile case as both the victim and the accused belonged to the family of the chief minister. Besides, Vivekananda Reddy was also a state minister.
YS Bhaskar Reddy, Avinash Reddy’s father, was recently arrested by the CBI in connection with the murder. The agency is chasing the Kadapa MP too. The father and son have been charged with plotting a larger conspiracy behind the murder.
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The chief minister told the state assembly that both the victim and the accused were akin to his two eyes and asked why he would want to damage either of his eyes.
But the way the state government has handled the case suggests the chief Minister is on the side of the accused, leaving the victim’s family high and dry.
The chief minister took back a petition from the high court seeking a CBI probe into the murder which he filed while he was in the opposition; his government revoked the suspension of a police inspector charged with failing to protect evidence at the scene by colluding with the accused and reinstated him in service; the local police allegedly at the behest of the government prevented a CBI officer from carrying out his task by framing him in cases of intimidation and torture.
All such developments lent credence to the allegation that the chief minister and his wife have been extending patronage to the `tainted’ family of Bhaskar Reddy even when the murdered man’s daughter Sunitha has been waging a lone but spirited battle to bring to book the assailants.
The CBI, in an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, has lent a political angle to the feuds in the chief minister’s family leading to the murder. The infighting surfaced when Vivekananda Reddy snapped ties with the chief minister and stayed back in the Congress when Jaganmohan Reddy floated the YSR Congress party after defying Congress leader Sonia Gandhi.
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Jaganmohan Reddy broke the diktat of his forefathers not to patronize descendants from their half-brother’s family and sought to fill the vacuum left by Vivekananda Reddy deserting him by handpicking Avinash Reddy for the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat.
Avinash Reddy and his father Bhaskar Reddy are linked to Chinna Konda Reddy, half-brother of Raja Reddy, the chief minister’s grandfather.
According to the CBI, Vivekananda Reddy, after his return to the chief minister’s fold from the Congress, told his nephew to choose either his mother Vijayamma or his sister Sharmila, if not himself, over Avinash for the Kadapa MP seat for the 2019 general elections.
Ignoring his advice, Jaganmohan Reddy re-nominated Avinash Reddy as the party candidate for the Lok Sabha seat.
It is in this backdrop that Sharmila moved to Telangana to float her party and Vijayamma quit the honorary president’s post in the YSRC.
A sibling clash allegedly ran deep for at least two-three generations within the chief minister’s family.
T Lakshminarayana, a political analyst from the chief minister’s home district, has urged asked Jaganmohan Reddy to be fair and objective in resolving the mystery behind the murder and help the authorities lay their hands on the culprits regardless of their station in life.