The ruling YSR congressman MLC Ananta Satya Uday Bhaskar was arrested Monday in the Kakinada district of Andhra Pradesh for allegedly murdering his former driver four days ago, a senior police official said.
At a news conference late at night, Kakinada Police Chief Inspector M Ravindranath Babu said: “Based on his confession statement, technical data and other evidence gathered, we have arrested the legislator for his involvement in the murder. He was also charged with screening of evidence, as he was trying to portray the murder as an accident.” The SP claimed that the MLC and driver V Subrahmanyam got into an argument on the night of May 19 near Mr Bhaskar’s apartment complex, more than 20,000 rupees still owed to the legislature.
During this quarrel, Mr Bhaskar beat Subrahmanyam and pushed him after which the latter, who was in a drunken state, fell on an iron grate and suffered a head injury. The MLC tried to take him to hospital but the doctors were not available in some hospitals in the area. Subrahmanyam then succumbed to the injuries,” the SP claimed.
The legislator then tried to project it as a traffic accident, because “Subrahmanyam was known to have accidents when drunk,” the SP added.
“According to our preliminary investigation, we have arrested the MLC. The investigation will reveal more facts,” said Mr Babu.
After three days, police took the lawmaker into custody Monday afternoon and questioned him about the murder. He was taken to the government general hospital on Monday evening for medical examination and then returned to the district police headquarters. He was then brought before a local magistrate.
Eluru Range Deputy Inspector General of Police G Pala Raju oversaw the MLC’s interrogation.
Kakinada police have been criticized for the way they handled the case, even as opposition parties and Dalit organizations staged widespread protests in various parts of the state, demanding that the guilty legislator be brought to justice immediately.
The government of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has also been put on the defensive as Bhaskar was considered a “very close” follower of the Chief Minister who is also the YSRC president.
After midnight on May 19, the MLC brought the body of his former driver Subrahmanyam into his car and handed it over to the victim’s family, claiming it was an accidental death.
Sarpavaram Police initially booked a suspicious death case under Section 174 CrPC, although the victim’s relatives claimed it was a murder case and pointed an accusing finger at the MLC.
On Thursday evening, Mr. Bhaskar came to Subrahmanyam’s residence and took him with him. Later, around 2 a.m., he returned to Subrahmanyam’s house with the latest death and handed the body over to the family.
The lawmaker claimed the driver died in a traffic accident, but when relatives protested, he fled the scene, leaving the car behind.
Sarpavaram Police confirmed that there was no sign of a traffic accident at the scene (Nagamalli Thota Junction), as claimed by the MLC.
The victim’s relative did not allow an autopsy on the body until after midnight on Saturday, when police eventually agreed to turn the case into a homicide. Accordingly, a case was registered under Section 302 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code and also under various provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against Uday Bhaskar.
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