Ruling YSRCP MLC Ananta Satya Uday Bhaskar was arrested in Andhra Pradesh's Kakinada district on Monday, May 23, for allegedly murdering his former driver four days ago, a senior police officer said.
At a press conference late in the night, Kakinada district Superintendent of Police M Ravindranath Babu said, "Based on his confessional statement, technical data and other evidence collected, we arrested the legislator for his involvement in the murder. He was also charged with screening of evidence, as he sought to portray the murder as an accident."
The SP claimed that the MLC and the driver V Subrahmanyam entered into an argument, near Bhaskar's apartment complex on the night of May 19, over Rs 20,000 still owed to the legislator. "During the course of this argument, Bhaskar hit Subrahmanyam and shoved him, following which the latter, who was in an inebriated condition, fell on an iron grill and sustained a head injury. The MLC tried to take him to hospital but doctors were not available in some hospitals in the area. Subsequently, Subrahmanyam succumbed to the injuries," the SP claimed.
The legislator then tried to project it as a road accident as "Subrahmanyam was known to commit accidents when drunk," the SP added. "As per our preliminary investigation, we have arrested the MLC. The investigation will continue to unearth more facts," Babu said.
After three days, the police took the legislator into custody on Monday afternoon and questioned him over the murder. He was taken to the government general hospital on Monday night for medical examination and then brought back to the district police headquarters. He was subsequently produced before a local magistrate.
Eluru Range Deputy Inspector General of Police G Pala Raju supervised the questioning of the MLC. The Kakinada police came under criticism over the manner in which they handled the case, even as opposition parties and Dalit organisations staged widespread protests in various parts of the state demanding that the guilty legislator be brought to book immediately.
The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government was also caught on the defensive as Bhaskar was considered a "very close" follower of the Chief Minister, who is also the YSRCP president.
After midnight on May 19, the MLC brought the body of his former driver Subrahmanyam in his car and handed it over to the victim's family, claiming it was a case of accidental death.
The Sarpavaram police initially booked a case of suspicious death under Section 174 CrPC, though the victim's family members alleged it was a case of murder and pointed an accusing finger at the MLC.
On Thursday night, Bhaskar came to Subrahmanyam's residence and took him away. Later, around 2 am, he returned to Subrahmanyam's house with the latter dead and handed over the body to the family.
The legislator claimed the driver died in a road accident but when the family members protested, he fled the spot leaving the car behind. The Sarpavaram police confirmed that there was no trace of any road accident at the spot (Nagamalli Thota junction) as the MLC claimed.
The victim's kin allowed post-mortem on the body only after midnight on Saturday when the police finally agreed to alter the case into that of a murder. Accordingly, a case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and also under various provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act was registered against Uday Bhaskar.