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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Low income ration card holders are front in Amaravati land scam

The timing of these transactions is significant for investigators because the previous TDP government had announced that it would develop a capital in Amaravati — between Guntur and Krishna districts — only in October 2014.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | February 6, 2020 4:06:19 am
Andhra Pradesh Amravati Capital, Amaravati land scam, Andhra Pradesh Telangana division, Andhra Pradesh Capital City, Telugu Desam Andhra Pradesh, Amaravati land scam probe, Indian express All the “benamis”, the CID found, are holders of white ration cards meant for low-income families. (Representational image)

* A 40-year-old man with Rs 8 lakh in his bank account bought 1 acre of land that was valued at Rs 78.65 lakh in the sale deed.
* A 35-year-old with Rs 6 lakh purchased 1 acre valued at Rs 48.4 lakh.
* A 37-year-old with Rs 6.8 lakh bought half-an-acre valued at Rs 21.74 lakh.
* A 25-year-old with Rs 2 lakh bought 2 acres valued at Rs 26 lakh.
* Another 40-year-old with Rs 8 lakh purchased half-an-acre valued at Rs 34.13 lakh.

THESE ARE just some of glaring entries on a list of 797 persons being probed by the Andhra Pradesh CID for allegedly acting as “benamis” in land deals in and around the proposed Amaravati capital region between June 5, 2014, and December 26, 2014, The Indian Express has learnt.

All the “benamis”, the CID found, are holders of white ration cards meant for low-income families.

The timing of these transactions is significant for investigators because the previous TDP government had announced that it would develop a capital in Amaravati — between Guntur and Krishna districts — only in October 2014.

Verification of registration records by the CID has revealed that at least 4,069.94 acres were bought from farmers by persons, who allegedly had prior information of the location of the capital, and their suspected “benamis”, between June 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.

On Tuesday, acting on a letter from the CID, the Enforcement Directorate’s Hyderabad office registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to investigate the Amaravati land deals done in cash.

“It was found that persons who did not even have PAN cards and held white ration cards purchased land spending huge amounts in cash transactions… they did not declare their income and were avoiding payment of income tax,” the CID letter stated.

The probe found that a majority of the buyers were employed as drivers, cooks and domestic help, or private security personnel, at the time of the deals. Investigators suspect the actual beneficiaries were political leaders, businessmen and realtors.

The CID probe has revealed that of the 797 persons, 594 bought land for document value ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. “The sale deed value of land purchased is far more than the lifetime savings of the buyers. They acted as fronts for others. The actual value of land purchased was several times more than the sale deed value shown in records at Sub-Registrar offices,” an official said.

The CID’s findings, which point to “insider” deals, are based on verification of ration cards, Aadhaar details, sources of income, and value of assets or cash, of those in whose name the land parcels were bought.

Two months after the previous TDP government’s announcement, the AP Capital Region Development Authority was notified under which 29 villages in Guntur and Krishna were brought under the capital region.

In Guntur, the land deals under the scanner are in the mandals of Thullur, Amaravathi, Tadikonda, Pedakurapadu, Mangalagiri, Peddakakani and Tadepalli. In Krishna, the transactions were mainly recorded in Ibrahimpatnam, Penamaluru, Vijayawada Rural and Chandarlapadu.

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