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Andhra Pradesh - Visakhapatnam Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

ULC land issue getting murkier and murkier

Sumit Bhattacharjee

VISAKHAPATNAM: With every passing day the alleged scam surrounding about 5,600 sq m of prime ULC land near the Kalimatha temple on R.K. Beach Road seems to get murkier. With the progress in the investigation and efforts made by The Hindu to extract more information, new bank transactions and names of persons hitherto unheard of in the deal are surfacing.

As per the latest findings, a company -- Prasad Constructions -- seems to have funded P. Venkatpathi Raju, the person who allegedly got a part of the land regularised in his favour by producing fabricated property tax passbooks.

Venkatapathi Raju applied for regularisation of the land vide application number AA1/000150/05/B1, and he was asked to pay regularisation charges under GO 455 at the rate of Rs. 375 per sq. m. As per records of the Indian Overseas Bank, Venkatapathi Raju submitted five demand drafts in favour of ULC Special Officer or Competent Authority bearing numbers 076981, 076482, 076984, 85 and 86, each to the tune of Rs.1 lakh and all dated August 13, 2005. But in investigations conducted by the ULC Department, it came to light that the amounts for the DDs were remitted by Prasad Constructions from its current account in the bank.

Background

ULC lands measuring 2,752 sq m and 2,870 sq. m. were regularised in favour of Venkatpathi Raju and Kasi Naga Kanaka Brahmam through GO numbers 455, 256 and 424. The lands were regularised by the government on the basis of alleged fake property tax passbooks produced by the duo. The land was later purchased by Clover Associates, and the firm is constructing Majestic Towers, a high-rise apartment complex.

In the case of Kasi Naga Kanaka Brahmam, a senior official from the Revenue Department said he had not paid a single penny from his pocket. “Probably he was a front man ,” the official said.

According to bank records, Rs.1 lakh was again paid by Prasad Constructions vide DD number 076983 and about Rs. 4,40,000 was paid by Venkatapathi Raju from his current account held in the name of Sri Varshini Builders in Karnataka Bank.

The Hindu also reported on March 31, why and how the Director of Clover Associates V. Koteswara Rao paid to the tune of Rs. 91 lakh to the government as differential charges against the regularisation of the land, when the amount was actually to be paid by Kasi Naga Kanaka Brahmam and Venkatapathi Raju.

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