The Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is proving the murder of former Andhra Pradesh Minister Y S Vivekananda Reddy on Sunday questioned his family members and recorded their statements. Vivekananda's brothers Pratap, Bhaskar and Manohar, along with his daughter, son-in-law and brother-in-law presented themselves in front of the SIT in Pulivendula and gave their statements.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday evening, Kadapa District Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma said that the SIT had examined 20 witnesses and sent a few pieces of crucial evidence to the forensic lab for examination, including a bloodied letter that was said to be written by Vivekananda Reddy. They said that the results of the tests would give them more leads.
The letter, purportedly written by Vivekananda before his death, said that the driver had beaten him, and suggested that the murder was an 'inside job'. However, the YSRCP has accused the SIT of 'planting' the letter with party leader Y S Avinash Reddy telling reporters that he found no such thing, even though he was one of the first people to reach the spot.
"Apart from five special teams of the Kadapa district police, five of the Special Investigation Team, under the supervision of CID Additional DGP Amit Garg, are thoroughly investigating the case from all angles," Sharma was quoted as saying.
The police also said that Pratap Reddy and Vivekananda had recently had a fight over a mining business. However, after recording his statement, Pratap told the media that it was a personal tiff but it had nothing to do with the murder.
Less than a month before the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state, the murder has triggered a huge row between the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the opposition YSRCP.
While the opposition blamed Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu for the murder and demanded an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), the TDP alleged that some family members tried to wipe out the evidence from the crime scene before lodging a complaint with the police.
Vivekananda Reddy was elected from Kadapa Lok Sabha constituency on a Congress ticket in 1999 and 2004. He was twice elected to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly (1989, 1994) from Pulivendula, a family stronghold. He is the brother of former Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy.