The Supreme Court while stating that Justice is not to be done but the Justice is seen to have been done also, transferred the trial in larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence case.
The writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India has been preferred by the daughter and the wife of the deceased – Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, seeking transfer of trial from CBI Special Court, Andhra Pradesh to the CBI Special Court, Hyderabad or CBI Special Court, New Delhi, and also to direct the CBI for duly completing the investigation in the aforesaid FIR in a time bound manner.
Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the incident pertains to the mysterious death of late Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, the brother of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (former Chief Minister of the United State of Andhra Pradesh) and uncle of Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and the opposite leader at the time of the incident.
He contended that the SIT was reconstituted twice, but there was no progress in the investigation and therefore petitioner was constrained to approach the High Court to transfer the investigation to the CBI.
It is submitted that thereafter and after the CBI took over the investigation, there was substantial progress and in the course of time, five accused have been arrested and the chargesheet and the supplementary chargesheet have been filed.
He further submitted that however, though in the chargesheet, the role of one Y.S. Avinash Reddy, who is a sitting Member of Parliament from the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh came to light and he was mentioned as a suspect and he played a key role in the destruction of the evidence and spreading false news that the deceased died due to heart attack, the said Y.S. Avinash Reddy has not yet been arrested and the State authorities and the influential people in the State are using all kinds of tactics to scuttle the investigation with the aim to shield the said Y.S. Avinash Reddy and his close associate D. Shiv Shankar Reddy.
K.M. Nataraj, Additional Solicitor General of India appearing for the respondent -CBI, submitted that in light of the observations made by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Amravati, further investigation of the case is still continuing on the issue of larger conspiracy for murder and destruction of evidence at the scene of crime.
He contended that the events unfolded during the course of investigation do indicate that several witnesses in the case are being influenced at the behest of the accused D. Siva Shankar Reddy and his close associates.
The division bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice M.M. Sundresh observed that apprehending harassment and filing false/frivolous complaints, the CBI/investigating agency stopped further investigation. Therefore, there is a reasonable apprehension that there shall not be any fair investigation so far as the further investigation on larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence is concerned.
The court noted that one of the key witnesses, K. Gangadhar Reddy, though initially he volunteered to give his statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C. and the CBI submitted an application to record his statement under Section 164 Cr.P.C., thereafter he did not turn up to get his statement recorded and on the contrary he made a statement before the media that he was being pressured by the CBI. That thereafter he has died under mysterious circumstances.
The court stated that 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 13 investigation on larger conspiracy and destruction of evidence at the scene of incident is imaginary and/or has no substance at all.
“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 criminal trial is being conducted in a fair and impartial manner and uninfluenced by any extraneous considerations” the court said.
The court ordered that the trial be transferred from the CBI Special Court, Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh to the CBI Special Court, Hyderabad.
Case title: Suneetha Narreddy & Another v/s The Central Bureau of Investigation and Others
Citation: Writ petition(criminal) no.169/2022