Murder Of Ex-CM’s Brother | High Court Cancelled Previous Bail & Granted Advance Bail To Accused: SC Issues Notice
The Supreme Court on Thursday issued a notice in the Special Leave Petition filed by Dr Suneetha Nareddy, the daughter of the deceased Ex-Andhra Pradesh CM's brother Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy, challenging the order passed by the Telangana High Court which had cancelled the default bail given on June 27, 2019, and had asked the accused-Respondent to surrender on or before May 5, 2023.
In the Criminal Appeal challenging the order passed by the Telangana High Court, the Bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice P.S. Narasimha and Justice J.B. Pardiwala noticed that the High Court cancelled the default bail granted to the accused and asked him to surrender, but also gave a further pre-fixed date for the release of the accused on bail. "While cancelling the bail, the High Court says we are cancelling the bail but you will be released on bail in July," remarked the CJI while expressing his shock at the High Court's order.
The Bench noticed that as per a Supreme Court's Judgement dated April 24, 2023, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) was directed to complete the investigation in the present matter before June 30, 2023, and therefore what weighed before the Telangana High Court was the timeline set by the Apex Court. The High Court was of the view that the accused should be released on regular bail after the competition of the investigation by the CBI and accordingly directed the Special Judge for CBI to enlarge the accused on bail on July 1, 2023.
Being aggrieved by such a direction, Senior Advocate Sidharth Luthra along with Advocate-on-Record Jesal Wahi appearing for the Appellant submitted that "the Hon’ble High Court has given a go-by to the mandate and procedure under CrPC of applying for bail by the accused and application of mind at that stage" and that "ultimate direction in the Impugned Judgment i.e. for the Special Judge for CBI cases to enlarge Respondent No.1 on bail on 01.07.2023 on his executing a personal bond, is not in conformity with the settled principles of the grant of bail".
It was further submitted in the Appeal that "Hon’ble High Court ought to have considered that the trial is yet to commence, and having cancelled his bail on the ground of influencing witnesses, ought not to have granted bail to Respondent No.1". Senior Advocate Luthra highlighted the fact that the High Court recorded cogent reasons for the cancellation of the default bail granted but despite that granted an advance bail to the Respondent.
Considering the submissions, the Supreme Court directed to "Issue notice, returnable in the week commencing 22 May 2023" and granted liberty to serve the Standing Counsel for the Central Bureau of Investigation and the first respondent to be served through the Superintendent of Jail where he is presently lodged.
In the impugned order dated April 24, 2023, the Bench of Justice Chillakur Sumalatha of the High Court of Telangana had observed that the presence of the Accused T.Gangi Reddy @ Yerra Gangi Reddy outside itself sends a signal to the witnesses to shut their mouths and opined that his liberty has to be curtailed to enable CBI to proceed with the investigation. The High Court directed the accused to surrender on or before May 5, 2023, and that on his surrender, he shall be remanded to judicial custody till 30.6.2023 which is the outer limit fixed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court for completion of investigation by CBI.
Further, in the same order, the High Court asked the Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases, Hyderabad, to enlarge the petitioner on bail on July 1, 2023, on his executing a personal bond for a sum of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One lakh only) with two sureties for the like sum each to the satisfaction of the said Court.
The Chief Justice-led Bench of the Supreme Court had on April 24, 2023, extended the investigation by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) till June 30, 2023. The Bench had observed that "Particularly at this stage when the CBI is to fully investigate the crime and the role of several accused who do not form a part of the charge sheet as submitted, we are of the view that the directions issued by the High Court were unwarranted.”
The Supreme Court had on November 29, 2022, transferred the trial of the murder of former AP Minister YS Vivekananda Reddy from Andhra Pradesh to Special CBI Court Hyderabad, observing that the apprehensions raised by the wife and daughter of the deceased, that there may not be an independent and fair investigation and that fair trial will be derailed, are reasonable.
Cause Title: Suneetha Nareddy Vs. T. Gangi Reddy @ Yerra Gangi Reddy [Crl. Appeal No. 1251 of 2023]