KADAPA: In a key development in the murder case of former minister YS Vivekananda Reddy, his former driver Shaik Dastagiri, in a statement under Section 164 of the CrPC, stated that he along with Yerra Gangi Reddy, Yadati Sunil Yadav and Gajjala Uma Shankar Reddy had murdered the former minister.
The statement was submitted to Kadapa sub-court on Saturday by CBI, which has been investigating the case for more than one year. On November 11, the investigating agency filed an approver petition on behalf of Dastagiri in the sub-court and was directed to submit the statement of Dastagiri, accused No 4, in the case.
Vivekananda Reddy, paternal uncle of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, was found murdered in his house at Pulivendula on March 15, 2019 during the run-up to Assembly polls. The motive for the murder was a dispute over sharing the proceeds from a land deal carried out in Bengaluru in 2018-19, he reportedly stated.
Vivekananda Reddy was said to have blamed Gangi Reddy for his defeat in the MLC election in 2017.
Dastagiri had worked as the driver of Vivekananda from February, 2017 to December, 2018, before he was sacked. During this period, he got acquainted with Gangi Reddy, a close associate of Vivekananda, Sunil Yadav, Uma Shankar Reddy and his brother Gajjala Jagadeeswara Reddy.
Vivekananda Reddy got Rs 8 crore from the Bengaluru land deal and differences cropped up between him and Gangi Reddy over the sharing of the amount. Dastagiri said Vivekananda Reddy humiliated both Gangi Reddy and Uma Shankar Reddy. He said in February, 2019, Gangi Reddy had called him along with Sunil Yadav and Uma Shankar Reddy to hatch a plan for murdering Vivekananda Reddy.
When Dastagiri expressed his reservations, Gangi Reddy convinced him by stating that he had the support of D Shankar Reddy and he would manage everything and secure their future. Dastagiri, Sunil Yadav and Uma Shankar Reddy were given Rs 1 crore each and promised more. Gangi Reddy was said to have expected Rs 40 crore from Shankar Reddy.
On the intervening night of March 14 and 15, a recce was conducted at Vivekananda’s house and Dastagiri, along with the other three accused, overpowered Vivekananda Reddy, and assaulted him before fatally hacking him with an axe, the CBI statement said. After the murder, Dastagiri and others were asked by Gangi Reddy to keep silent.