Is Vizag Becoming A Hotbed Of Corruption?
Visakhapatnam: Before shaping herself into a smart city, Visakhapatnam appears to have become a hotbed of corrupt bureaucratic activities dashing the hopes of the people that it would become a corruption-free region. The city has been hitting the headlines for a couple of months with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials whaling into several corrupt officials every other day.
A chief engineer in Public Health and Municipal Engineering Department and a professor in the Andhra Medical College (AMC) were arrested on Thursday on the charges of possessing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income by the ACB sleuths. The accused Pamu Panduranga Rao of Public Health Department and NB Vijaya Kumar of AMC were reported to have possessed assets worth about ₹ 500 crore ( market value) in excess of their regular source of income. According to RP Thakur, DG of ACB, the wealth identified with them was the highest ever among the ones the ACB found in its raids till date. See Also: ACB Raids Houses Of Medical College Professor And Public Health Engr
Assets in both the States
The ACB which conducted simultaneous raids on the 14 premises belonging to Pamu Panduranga Rao and his relatives in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana identified several assets in the names of benamis. As they dig deep into the hidden treasures, the officials to their dismay found lands worth ₹ 3 crore (registration value) in his wife Rajya Lakshmi’s name in about 30 places including Visakhapatnam, Guntur, Jangareddy Gudem, Alwal, Patancheru, Pamarru, Mailavaram and Hyderabad. In about 11 places, assets registered in the name of Rao himself were identified. Their registration value comes around ₹ 75 lakh. What intrigues further was that the ACB sleuths stumbled upon baskets brimmed with dry fruits worth not less than a lakh.
Panduranga Rao, who served in various capacities in the Public Health Engineering Department in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, Vijayawada Municipal Corporations and Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation, was alleged to have indulged in corrupt practices and have got the abilities to appease his higher officials. See Also: Jagan Demands CBI Enquiry Into Vizag Land Scam
The ACB, having found Dr NB Vijay Kumar, Dy Superintendent of King George Hospital in Visakhapatnam, a business partner of Panduranga Rao, smelled a rat in the affair and raided nine places in Visakhapatnam and Kakinada on Thursday. According to ACB officials, the duo along with their family members was constructing a hospital in the site acquired from Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) in the Health City, Arilova. The land was bought after withdrawing money from the accounts of the two daughters of Dr Vijay Kumar. The ACB also noticed that Vijay Kumar’s two daughters, Panduranga Rao’s wife and two sons sit on the Board of Directors of the hospital.
Besides, ACB identified gold weighing 2.6 kg, silver 3.86 kg and documents pertaining to various assets located in Visakhapatnam and Kakinada as belonging to Vijay Kumar. Vijay Kumar has a duplex house in the posh Madhavadhara area, a plot in Lankela Palem and a site in Kakinada. A site measuring 464 sq yards is in the name of Nirmala Jyothi, wife of Vijay Kumar in Visakhapatnam. See Also: Vizag Land Deal: Lokesh Makes 4 Lakh Crore
Corruption on the rise
On June 19, ACB seized ₹ 60 crore worth of property from Doddapaneni Venkaiah Naidu, a Sub-Registrar in Gajuwaka and arrested him on the charges of possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. ACB suspected his involvement in the tampering of records pertaining to lands in the Visakhapatnam rural mandal.
The ACB seized a fully furnished apartment worth about ₹ 54 lakh in Maharanipeta in addition to several plots in Narava, Kapuluppada, Adavivaram, Jaggayyapalem and Madhurawada. The list did not end there. He was found to have a five-storied lodge in the holy town Tirupathi worth about ₹ 2 crore. He put it in the name of his relative.
Gold ornaments weighing 1.75 kg, silver articles of 1.350 kg, household articles worth ₹ 20 lakh, ₹ 6.42 lakh in cash, a bank balance of ₹ 5 lakh and promissory notes of ₹ 5 lakh were recovered from him.
Corrupt practices do not seem to be new for Venkaiah Naidu. He was earlier arrested by the ACB in January 2011 when he was on duty. He was found to be in possession of unaccounted money of ₹ 85,000. Suspended for his offence for about four years, he reported for duty recently. The question as to how a person with a known history of corrupt practices again posted in key positions and how he mustered the courage to do the same fraud again is haunting everybody in the city. See Also: Presidential Elections: Typical Style In South Indian Politics
In another case, a tahsildar Majji Sankara Rao was arrested by ACB on the charges having assets disproportionate on June 7. He was said to have tampered with the land records in Gajuwaka, Kommadi and Madhurawada areas. The ACB found disproportionate assets of worth about one crore in the raids conducted at his or her relatives houses in Gajuwaka, Vizianagaram, Bobbili, Srikakulam and Narsipatnam.
In another incident at Itchapuram, the ACB raided a check post to check any unauthorised transactions. The ACB officials identified unaccounted amount to the tune of ₹ 40, 000 with the staff. The list goes on.
The figures and facts revealed by the ACB are stunning in all the cases presented above. The ways and means are very clear in all these episodes for any sensible observer. The nexus between the politicians and the officials is also evident from the mutual allegations of the leaders of the principal political parties. Can a stern action be expected from the government is the question before the citizens of the smart city who think that being smart does not mean being corrupt. See Also: Toddler Falls Into Borewell, Rescue Operations In Full Swing