24 April 2023 10:37 AM GMT
The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the order of the Telangana High Court which had granted Lok Sabha member YS Avinash Reddy interim protection from arrest and directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct the investigation in a given manner in the murder case of YS Vivekananda Reddy, a member of the Indian National Congress and brother of the late Andhra Pradesh Chief...
The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the order of the Telangana High Court which had granted Lok Sabha member YS Avinash Reddy interim protection from arrest and directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct the investigation in a given manner in the murder case of YS Vivekananda Reddy, a member of the Indian National Congress and brother of the late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy. The bench comprising CJI DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha also remarked in its order that such orders of the High Court cause grave prejudice to investigation. In the last hearing in the matter, the Chief Justice had orally remarked that the directions passed by the High Court were “atrocious and unacceptable” and stayed the order.
Today, Senior Advocate Siddharth Luthra appearing for Sunitha Reddy, the daughter of the slain former minister, argued that the direction of the Telangana High Court to CBI to provide Reddy with the questions posed to him in a printed or written form was "absurd". He said–
"This is really becoming an exercise in futility. This is not how investigation goes on. It's an absurdity, never seen something like this."
Per contra, Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Reddy submitted that the petitioner was trying to misrepresent the case by making it seem that the High Court had directed the CBI to give Reddy the questions. He said–
"CBI has never given the transcript of questionnaire in advance...I am not running away. They were asking repetitive questions so the High Court said if they repeat, then transcript of questions can be given."
However, CJI DY Chandrachud expressed his disapproval of the order and said–
"If this is the standard, we might as well wind up the CBI because now everyone will cite this as precedent. Then all the matters in which CBI and ED is investigating, they may ask why are you applying different yardsticks? Look at this- CBI is asked to have questions in printed form, provided to him. Why do we have the CBI then?"
Post the arguments, the bench passed its order setting aside the High Court order as it "stultified the investigation" and noted that–
"The findings of the High Court are clearly premature. Having due regard to what has been stated by CBI, we're of the view that HC has misapplied itself and passed an extraordinary order. An order of this nature will harm the investigation. There is no warrant for High Court that a person investigated should have questions in written or printed form. Such orders of the court allow grave prejudice to investigation."
YS Vivekananda Reddy, a member of the Indian National Congress and brother of the late Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy was found murdered at his residence in Pulivendula in Kadapa district in 2019. The case was initially probed by a special investigation team (SIT) of the state crime investigation department, but was 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.
Earlier, the Central Bureau of Investigation issued a summons to Avinash Reddy, hours after arresting YS Bhaskar Reddy, his father and uncle of Andhra chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy from his residence. In anticipation of his arrest, Avinash Reddy approached the high court. In a relief to Avinash Reddy, a single judge of the high court reserved its order till Tuesday, April 25, while granting him protection from arrest till then.
In November last year, the apex court had directed the trial of Vivekananda Reddy’s murder to be transferred from Andhra Pradesh to a special CBI court in Hyderabad, noting that the apprehensions raised by his wife and daughter regarding derailment of a fair trial were reasonable.
Case Title: Suneetha Narreddy v. YS Avinash Reddy SLP(Crl) No. 5198/2023
Citation : 2023 LiveLaw (SC) 355
Investigation - There is absolutely no warrant for the High Court to direct that the investigation of a person who has been interrogated as a suspect in the conspiracy should be in the printed or written form. Similarly, it is wholly inappropriate for the High Court to observe that the questionnaire may also be handed over to the respondent. Such orders of the High Court are liable to gravely prejudice the course of investigation.
Click Here To Read/Download Order