YSRC leader Vivekananda Reddy found dead, family demands CBI probe

Amaravati: In a shocking incident, YSR Congress leader Y S Vivekananda Reddy was found dead at his house in Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh, yesterday.

The 68-year-old leader was the younger brother of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister M Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and uncle of the party’s chief Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and is survived by his wife and a daughter. His body was found by his staff in the morning and a case of unnatural death was initially registered. However after the post-mortem was conducted the police confirmed that it was case of murder.

A political row broke out between the ruling TDP and the Opposition YSR Congress in this regard. Even as the AP government formed a Special Investigation Team, headed by CID Additional Director General of Police Amit Garg, to probe the death, Jagan Mohan demanded a CBI probe saying he had no faith in the state police and alleged that chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu was responsible for his uncle’s death. Jagan stated that it was a politically mean act.

The state government was fabricating evidence to portray Vivekananda’s death as natural. “They (government) came out with a letter purportedly written by my uncle, naming a driver (as the culprit). How could a person write a letter while being killed?” he asked while speaking to reporters.

Naidu, however, alleged that Reddy’s family seemed responsible for the leader’s death and that they tried to hide and destroy vital forensic evidence.

“Truth is truth. Nothing can be hidden. They wanted to use a family members murder for political gains. Its a misfortune to have such a leader in politics,” Naidu said. The CM further said that the police would take up the case and rejected the Opposition’s demand for a CBI investigation saying that they demanded it to get away from the case. He asserted that only the state police would investigate the case. He further recalled Vivekananda’s services as a public representative and extended sympathies to the bereaved family.

Vivekananda Reddy was a two-time MLA, two-time MP and a one-term MLC. He served as agriculture minister in the N Kiran Kumar Reddy government in united Andhra Pradesh. This is not the first time a tragic death has taken place in the family that has a powerful political hold in Kadapa district. Jagan’s grandfather Y S Raja Reddy was murdered in 1998 and his Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was killed in a helicopter crash in 2009.

Police said injuries were found on the forehead, head and back, besides on the hand and thigh. “We have gathered some clues in the case. We are questioning the former minister’s household staff. Some fingerprints were also collected from the scene,” Kadapa District Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma said. “We have taken the case seriously and are investigating it from all angles,” Sharma added.

Reacting to the news of his death, YSRC spokesperson Vasireddy Padma said that Reddy had taken part in election campaign in Jammalamadugu the day before and his sudden death gives rise to several suspicions.

State Animal Husbandry Minister C Adinarayana Reddy said it had become a habit for the opposition to politicise everything. “I also want to know the facts behind such a nice person’s death. We too want an impartial inquiry, but YSRC leaders should stop mudslinging,” he said.

Vivekananda was elected as MLA in 1989 and 1994 from his hometown Pulivendula in Kadapa district, the family’s strong hold. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kadapa constituency in 1999 and 2004 and to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council in 2009. His nephew Jagan Mohan Reddy quit Congress and established the YSR Congress and while he chose to stay back with the parent party. Vivekananda lost the by-election to his sister-in-law, Vijayamma in 2011. Subsequently, the family differences were sorted out and Vivekananda Reddy joined the YSRC.

Vivekananda’s personal assistant M V Krishna Reddy had found his body first and lodged the police complaint based on which the FIR was registered.

NT Bureau