The Andhra Pradesh government has formed a ten-member Special Investigation Team to probe the findings of a cabinet sub-committee that said that since the bifurcated state of Andhra Pradesh came into existence, there were procedural, legal and financial irregularities as well as fraudulent transactions in policies, projects, programs, including insider trading allegations of land in the Capital Region Development Authority region institutions.
Senior IPS officer Kolli Raghuram Reddy will head team that will probe allegations of insider trading in land deals, manipulation of boundaries of capital and systematic inclusion of land belonging to leaders of former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's party and their associates in the new capital region.
The probe comes at a time when the Jagan Mohan Reddy government has decided to have three capitals for Andhra Pradesh. The new tri-capital plan, which the centre says it has no objection to, involves setting up executive, legislative and judicial capitals at Vishakhapatnam, Amaravati and Kurnool respectively.
The Enforcement Directorate has already booked a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on the basis of information shared by the state's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) as part of an ongoing probe into land deals struck in the Vijayawada-Guntur region in 2014-15, when then Chief Minister Mr Naidu was pushing for a "futuristic" state capital at Amaravati.
PV Sunil Kumar, the Additional Director General of Police heading the CID, also wrote to the Income Tax Commissioner on suspect cash transactions carried out nearly five years ago.
"While examining the land deals, it was found that some persons who do not even have a PAN card to their name and holders of white ration cards purchased lands by spending huge amounts of money. Most were cash transactions, which points to the fact that (those behind the racket) had not declared their income and were trying to avoid paying income tax to the government," the letter read.
Details of the suspicious land deals in which huge money was involved have been shared along with details such has the buyers, the location and the extent of the land, sale deed value and open market value. Criminal cases have already been registered in Guntur under various sections of the law, besides the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Act.
As many as 797 white ration card holders - whose monthly income is supposed to be less than Rs 5,000 per month - allegedly bought land in the Amaravati capital region worth crores of rupees, according to a probe by the state CID.
Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy had said in the state assembly that the government has evidence that leaders of Chandrababu Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and their supporters had bought land to the extent of 4,000 acres between June and December, 2014, before the government declared Amaravati as the state capital.