On Friday morning, Y S Vivekananda Reddy (68), younger brother of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, was found dead in the bathroom of his house in Pulivendula, in Kadapa district. Police said he had multiple injuries caused by a sharp weapon, probably an axe.
A post-mortem report listed seven injuries on his head, right hand and thighs. Police registered a case under Section 302 IPC (murder).
This is the third unnatural death in the Y S Reddy family, which is reported to be involved in factional fights in Kadapa district since the 1980s. On May 23, 1998, Vivekananda’s father, Y S Raja Reddy, was killed in a crude bomb attack by suspected members of a rival faction. The two groups were feuding over barite mining rights in Obulavaripalle in Kadapa district.
At that time, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, was the state Congress chief. In May 2004, YSR led the Congress to victory in Andhra Pradesh. Five years later, the Congress was voted back to power.
But just four months into his second term, YSR’s helicopter disappeared while he was on his way to Chittoor to address a public meeting on September 2, 2009. The next day, his body was recovered from the wreckage of the chopper in the Nallamalla forest area. His son, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged foul play.
On Friday, Jagan Lohan accused the TDP of being involved in all the three deaths. According to police, Vivekananda had returned home late on Thursday night after meeting YSRCP workers at Mydukur. He was alone at home as his wife was visiting their daughter in New Jersey.
His body was found by his personal assistant, M Krishna Reddy, and other staff members on Friday morning. Krishna Reddy said in a police complaint that when Vivekananda did not open his door, they entered the house through a back door which was open. “We found Vivekananda Reddy in the bathroom, with blood everywhere. It
YSR’s brother found dead, police say he was attacked with axe was an unnatural death,’’ he said in his complaint.
Additional Superintendent of Police, Kadapa, P B Lakshminarayana said the nature of injuries suggested that Vivekananda was attacked with an axe.
Kadapa SP Rahul Dev Sharma said Vivekananda is suspected to have been killed between midnight and 5 am. “Initially, it was suspected that he died of a heart attack. But after visiting the spot, we decided that it was a murder. We have taken a few persons into custody for interrogation,’’ said Sharma.
The state government has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), headed by Additional DGP (CID) Amit Garg, to investigate the case. But Jagan Mohan said he did not have faith in a state police inquiry and demanded a probe by an external agency.
“When my grandfather, Y S Raja Reddy, was murdered, the TDP was in power. When there was an attempt on my life at the Vizag airport, TDP was in power. And now, when this murder has happened, TDP is in power again. Two days before the helicopter crash in which my father died, Chandrababu Naidu told him in the Assembly that he (YSR) would not return,’’ Jagan Mohan said.
On October 25 last year, Janapalli Srinivas Rao, who claimed to be Jagan Mohan’s fan, had attacked him with a small knife at the Visakhapatnam Airport’s VIP lounge. Jagan Mohan suffered a gash on his left arm. Rao later told police that he wanted to create a sympathy wave for Jagan Mohan. But the YSRCP accused the TDP of trying to kill their leader.
With elections set to be held in the state on April 11, Vivekananda’s death has raised the political heat.
Vivekananda was twice elected MLA from Pulivendula in 1989 and 1994. He was also elected twice as Lok Sabha MP from Kadapa, and once as Member of the Legislative Council in Andhra Pradesh (2004).
Till recently, he was an outcast in the YSR family because he sided with the Congress when Jagan Mohan revolted and formed the YSRCP. Jagan and his mother, Y S Vijayalakshmi, banished Vivekananda from the YSR family estate and their properties in Pulivendula.
In the December 2011 Assembly bypolls, Vivekananda contested as a Congress candidate against Vijayalakshmi. He lost by over 80,000 votes. Soon after the defeat, he reconciled with the family and joined the YSRCP.