AMARAVATI: The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday registered a case with regard to the large scale land irregularities in the name of Amaravati capital region. Following this, the ACB is expected to carry out a comprehensive and in-depth investigation based on preliminary reports on the allegations of insider trading.
Expectedly, the probe will primarily focus on who all acquired lands in the region after learning before hand about the establishment of capital in Amaravati during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime. There have been widespread allegations that several key TDP leaders and other influential personalities had acquired approximately 4,075 acres of lands in the capital region before the announcement of the capital. It was also found in preliminary inquiries that out of these, about 900 acres of assigned lands were forcibly acquired from Dalits.
Preliminary investigations have also revealed that there were many white ration card holders besides TDP leaders, their close aides and benamis among the buyers of these assigned lands. The list of buyers includes some holding companies that have TDP leaders as their key shareholders. The names that prominently figured in this list of illegal buyers of assigned lands include TDP leaders Paritala Sunitha, GVS Anjaneyulu, Payyavula Kesav, Lanka Dinakar, Dhulipalla Narendra, Kambhampati Rammohan, Putta Mahesh who is the son-in-law of Yanamala Ramakrishnudu.
Chandrababu Naidu, as the then chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, announced Amaravati as the capital on September 3, 2015. But interestingly, the transactions relating to the purchase of lands in the region where the capital was announced took place between June 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014. Preliminary investigations have thrown up the startling fact that in the process of acquiring these lands, legislations like the Assigned Lands Act of 1977 and Protection of SC, ST Rights Act of 1989 were grossly violated.
Massive scale irregularities in the form of tampering of records pertaining to island, poramboke and government lands were also detected by the investigating agencies. It was also learnt that records have been manipulated and replaced for the sake of the controversial land pooling scheme.
Most notable among the TDP leaders who acquired large swathes of land in the Amaravati capital region through insider trading was Chandrababu Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh. While Lokesh allegedly acquired 62 acres of land in the name of the family of his benami Vemuri Ravi, lands were allegedly bought in the name of the wife and relatives of Lingamaneni Ramesh. Preliminary probe reports also named former minister Narayana, who allegedly bought 55 acres through his benamis Avula Munisekhar, Rapuru Sambasiva Rao, Kotthapu Varuna Kumar and Potthuri Prameela.
Former legislator Kommalapati Sridhar was said to have acquired 68.6 acres using the benami route while former minister Prathipati Pulla Rao allegedly bought 38 acres in the name of Gummadi Suresh, his benami. A company, Mythri Infra promoted by another minister Ravela Kishore Babu acquired 40 acres in the capital region.
Chandrababu Govt Alters CRDA Limits To Accommodate TDP Leaders
It also came to light during the preliminary investigation that the jurisdiction and limits of the Capital Region Development Area (CRDA) were altered by the previous regime of Chandrababu Naidu for the benefit of the TDP leaders. It was also unearthed that 498 acres of land was allotted to VBC Chemicals owned by the family of Balakrishna’s son-in-law. Interestingly, a government order was issued notifying the redrawing of the CRDA limits after these land allocations were made.
The ACB has claimed that there were massive scale irregularities even in the land allocations made to several firms and corporate groups. Preferential or discriminatory rates were fixed for PSUs/government entities as against private firms. While the private firms were allotted lands at throwaway prices, different and higher rates were fixed for lands given to the government entities. Irregularities were also detected in the allotment of 850 acres to five private groups.
Case Registered Against Ex-Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas
The Anti-Corruption Bureau has also registered a case against Dammalapati Srinivas, former advocate general of Andhra Pradesh and a close aide of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu. The case against Srinivas was registered under section 409 of Prevention of Corruption Act and 420 r/w 120-B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Besides Srinivas, 12 others were also booked in this case. The ACB has collected evidences to show that Srinivas resorted to irregularities while discharging duties as the advocate general during Chandrababu Naidu’s government.
Dammalapati Srinivas purchased lands in 2014 in the Amaravati region in the names of his father-in-law and brother-in-law. The ACB detected that later in 2015 and 2016, Srinivas got those lands transferred in his name in 2015 and 2016. The anti-corruption agency found primary evidence to establish that Srinivas made sure that the lands he purchased fall under the CRDA core capital region that was created by Chandrababu Naidu.
Interestingly, anticipating the ACB action in this case, Dammalapati Srinivas approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday with a petition seeking the court’s direction that he should not be arrested in this matter. He appealed to the high court through his petition that a letter written by the state home department to the Centre over this matter be dismissed.