AP ACB unearths DA worth crores from two officials

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Anti-Corruption Bureau today raided the houses of two officials of the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department and unearthed assets worth crores, which they suspect are disproportionate to their known sources of income.

While the book value of the assets in both the cases is around Rs 30 crore, the actual market value could be about Rs 150 crore, according to ACB sources.

Raids were conducted simultaneously by 20 teams of the ACB officials on the properties of Director of Town and Country Planning, G V Raghu, and Junior Technical Officer in Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC), N V Sivaprasad, at Mangalagiri, Vijayawada, Gannavaram, Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad, Chittoor, and in Shirdi (Maharashtra).

According to sources, Sivaprasad was benami (a conduit) for Raghu and operated several real estate firms in Vijayawada.

Sivaprasad worked under Raghu when the latter was City Planner in VMC in 2002.

Interestingly, many of the assets were in the name of Sivaprasad and his wife Chintamaneni Gayatri, who too previously worked as an assistant engineer in VMC.

Several parcels of land, many residential flats and houses, a convention centre in AP and Telangana and a lodging house (in Shirdi) were among the assets discovered, sources said.

Raghu, who joined government service in 1988, served in key positions like City Planner and Chief City Planner in the top three cities in undivided AP Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad.

The real estate boom in those periods that saw the springing up of several apartment complexes, commercial buildings and malls enabled him to strike it rich through dubious deals, a top official revealed.

“Countless number of illegal structures came up in a city like Hyderabad and obviously this man was at the helm, overseeing building permissions and regulations. He, thus, amassed a lot of wealth in collusion with unscrupulous builders,” the official added.

Sivaprasad opened at least four real estate firms in the name of his wife, who took voluntary retirement in 2015, in Vijayawada and purchased several tracts of land in Krishna, Guntur and East Godavari districts.

As much as eight kgs of gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs 4 crore was found in Sivaprasad’s possession, besides Rs 43 lakh in cash. Also, 23 kg of silver was also seized.

ACB Director General RP Thakur said in Vijaywada that they recovered Rs 8.20 lakh in cash, gold worth Rs 4 lakh, and a four-wheeler from Raghu’s residence.

The two officers were arrested and the investigation is on.