The Andhra Pradesh CID Tuesday arrested five persons who were allegedly involved in illegal transactions of assigned lands in the Amaravati Capital Region during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime.
Assigned lands are lands allocated by governments to ex-servicemen, SCs and STs and the poor, landless beneficiaries, which cannot be sold or given away to a third party.
The CID said in a statement that the prime accused in the alleged illegal purchase of assigned lands in the Amaravati capital area was Dr Ponguru Narayana, the then Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development and founder of the Narayana Group of educational institutions.
Reacting to the allegations, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu said, “After nearly three years of investigation, the YSRCP government could not find anything against the TDP leaders which it wanted to target. Instead, it has arrested five innocent people.” He was echoed by TDP national general secretary Nara Lokesh Naidu.
The CID said that as Minister of Municipal Administration and Urban Development, Dr Narayana had prior knowledge about which areas would be declared as capital region and orchestrated the illegal purchase of assigned lands in the capital region area by telling owners that if they do not give their lands to the government, it would be taken away forcibly without any compensation. He then used his own relatives and acquaintances to make the benami transactions. “Some of the transactions were done through Ramakrishna Housing Pvt Ltd, a firm allegedly linked to Dr Narayana,” the CID said.
The five who were arrested by the CID were identified as Kolli Sivaram and G Venkatesh, employees of Ramakrishna Housing Pvt Ltd, Vijayawada; and real estate brokers Chikkala Vijaya Saradhi, Bade Anjanayelu and Kotti Krishna Dora Babu of Visakhapatnam.
A source in the CID said that the in this particular case involving SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act, 2015, Amendment and Section 7 of AP Assigned Lands (Prohibition on Transfer) Act 1977, and Section 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, registered at CID Police Station at Mangalagiri, 169.27 acre of assigned land is under investigation. “In all, illegal transactions over the assigned lands of 1,100 acre in the Amaravati capital region are suspected,” the CID said.
The CID added that Dr Narayana, who was close to N Chandrababu Naidu, was aware which areas would come under the capital city and capital region. He was also aware of the formulation and implementation of the AP Capital Region Development Authority Act and the rules framed for the Land Pooling Scheme. He was the member of various committees formed under the AP CRDA Act, 2014, and knew what was going on, the CID said.
The CID said that Dr Narayana and others “orchestrated a design of creating an insecurity in the minds of gullible peasants who were in the possession of assigned lands, more particularly the Schedule Caste and backward castes, and through their men and the revenue officials, spread a message that the state government will take away the assigned lands from the persons whoever were in possession of the same and created a sort of insecurity in their minds that the government will reassume the assigned lands without any compensation.”
The CID statement said that as the minister, Dr Narayana had control over granting permissions of town layouts and buildings. “In misuse and abuse of his official position for his personal gains, he along with his family members conspired with KPC Anjani Kumar, Director of Ramakrishna Housing Pvt Ltd to purchase the assigned lands. The bank accounts of Ramakrishna Housing Pvt Ltd were used for transferring the payments to the assigned land holders and the employees of the company actively participated in these transactions,” the CID said.
As per the CID, these illegal transactions were declined by Arduru Gopal, the then Sub-Registrar of Mangalagiri. The CID states that intense pressure was brought upon Gopal to facilitate the registration of the sale deeds on the lands which were already in the prohibited list as per Section 22 A of the Indian Registration Act, 1908. “This wrongful dispossession of the assigned land holders belonging to Scheduled Castes and Schedule Tribes from their assigned lands in a fraudulent manner attracts the provisions of Sections 3(1)(g) of SC/ST (POA) 1989,” it said.
The CID further alleged that then Commissioner APCRDA Cherukuri Sridhar and Guntur District Collector Kanthilal Dande clearly informed that assigned lands including lands given to ex-service, and freedom fighters cannot be sold or purchased, but the still the then TDP Government went ahead which violated the Andhra Pradesh Assigned Lands (Prohibition of Transfer) Act 1977.
“So far, a financial trail of Rs 15 crore is seen from the entities connected to Ponguru Narayana and his family members to M/s Ramakrishna Housing Pvt Ltd. This flow of funds is connected to the purchase of the assigned lands from the SC/ST/BC farmers in Amaravati, AP Capital Area at low rates,” the CID said. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said this is the second time that the YSRCP government has targeted Dr Naryana.
On May 10, Dr Narayana was arrested by the CID of Andhra Pradesh Police over a teacher working at one of the institutions allegedly leaking an SSC question paper. On April 27, the Telugu subject question paper was allegedly leaked by a teacher of Narayana college at Tirupati.
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