November 7, 2018:
Scam lead to the alienation of 1,226 acres of prime government lands in 40 mandals in & around Visakhapatnam city.
Special Investigation Team (SIT) has named Former revenue minister Dharmana Prasada Rao of the opposition YSR Congress, eight senior IAS officers & other district-level officials from the stamps & registration department in the multi-crore land scam in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam district.
The Special team, was constituted by the government of Andhra Pradesh in June last year to inquire into complaints of tampering of records that lead to the alienation of 1,226 acres of prime government lands in 40 mandals in & around Visakhapatnam city & it submitted a detailed report to the state cabinet.
The SIT, includes deputy inspector general of police Vineet Brij Lal, joint collector G Srijana & deputy collector of Visakhapatnam L Vijayasaradhi recommended criminal action against those allegedly involved in the scam. The cost of land that slipped out of government’s hands runs into hundreds of crores of rupees, the report said.
Dharmana Prasada Rao, has served as revenue minister during the period when the scam was reported & is accused of obtaining no objection certificates (NOCs) by manipulating a section of official machinery for alienating three acres of land assigned to an ex-serviceman in favour of Virgin Rocks Private Limited, a granite mining & export company located in Madhuravada area for which he is a promoter.
Prasada Rao, the regional coordinator of the YSR Congress, alleged he was being targeted by the ruling Telegu Desam Party (TDP) in an apparent bid to browbeat leaders belonging to opposition parties.
Those accused in the scam as per the SIT report also include three IAS officers who served as Visakhapatnam’s district collector over a period of time, three other officers during their stint as joint collector, a district revenue officer, who was later promoted as an IAS officer & is currently serving as a district collector in the Rayalaseema region.
One of them is the then district collector & is currently on deputation at the Centre & another has opted for Telangana cadre after the state’s bifurcation.
Revenue minister KE Krishnamurthy announced the formation of the SIT after his cabinet colleague Chintakayala Ayyanna Patrudu, holding the roads & buildings portfolio, blew the whistle over the land scam.
Patrudu came out with specific complaints about tampering of records showing government lands as private to facilitate a change of hands in eight mandals. The then district collector admitted the alienation of lands to the extent of 360 acres through fraudulent methods after going into the veracity of the complaints.
This led to constitute the SIT with terms of reference to extend the scope of probe up to 40 mandals & the period during which the scam took place also be extended up to 2004.
Some of the officers named in the scam could not be reached for their comments.