About 800 people living the below poverty line purchased land worth over Rs 200 crore in and around Andhra Pradesh capital’s Amaravati during 2014-15, revealed investigations by Andhra Pradesh Police into alleged land scam.
The CID, which probed the alleged irregularities in the land deals in the capital region during the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime, found that as many as 796 people living Below Poverty Line (BPL) purchased 761.34 acres of land.
According to officials, all 796 are holding white ration cards. The cards are issued to BPL families with income of less than Rs 5,000 per month.
As these people were suspected to be used for benami transactions, the CID officials have formed four teams to identify those involved.
The CID has also asked the Income Tax Department and the Enforcement Directorate to inquire into cases as many buyers did not even have the PAN cards and the land deals were transacted in cash.
Two former ministers were among over 700 people booked by the CID on charge of indulging in insider trading in Amaravati.
The CID registered the First Information Report (FIR) three days after the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government announced in the Assembly that the land deals would be probed by an appropriate agency.
Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy had told the Assembly that the government has evidence that leaders of the TDP and their supporters had purchased land to the extent of 4,700 acres during June-December 2014, before the then TDP government declared Amaravati the state capital.
The then Urban Development Minister P. Narayana and then Agriculture Minister Prattipati Pulla Rao Aare the two ministers named as accused in the FIR. They have been charged with forcefully purchasing lands from villagers.
According to Superintendent of Police, CID, Mary Prashanti, the cases were registered under Section 420 (cheating), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), besides Section 3 of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
The CID also registered case against TDP leader Bellamkonda Narasimha Rao and others who had bought lands in Amaravati through proxies.
The cases were registered on a complaint by Pothuraju Bujji of Venkatayapalem village that some people forced to sell her land admeasuring around one acre.
Pulla Rao and other TDP leaders dubbed the case a part of the political vendetta by Jagan Mohan Reddy government.
Alleged insider trading is cited as one of the reasons by the government for deciding to decentralise the state capital.
It has announced Visakhapatnam will be developed as executive capital and Kurnool as judicial capital while Amaravati will serve as legislative capital.
The Bills for creation of three capitals were passed by the Assembly on Monday while farmers in Amaravati continued their protest demanding that Amaravati be continued as the only state capital.
The farmers, who had given 33,000 acres of land for development of Amaravati as the state capital, have also challenged the government’s move in the High Court.