Senior Andhra Pradesh official arrested by ACB for amassing ‘disproportionate assets’
The arrest was made after ACB conducted raids on the properties of the accused and his relatives in several places in the state.india Updated: Jun 24, 2017 19:35 IST
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday arrested a senior state government official for allegedly amassing illegally assets worth over Rs 500 crore.
The arrest was made after ACB teams conducted raids on the properties of Pamu Panduranga Rao, who is working as engineer-in-chief, public health in the state’s municipal administration department, and his relatives for the last two days.
The raids in 14 places in Visakhapatnam, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Hyderabad led to unearthing of huge assets disproportionate to Rao’s known sources of income, ACB chief R P Thakur Rao said.
The assets include a number of plots, agricultural land, gold and silver ornaments, flats and independent houses, Rs 10 lakh in cash, US dollars worth 1.95 lakh in Indian currency and bank balance of Rs. 25 lakh.
Among several properties, Rao owned 2,242 square yards of plots in prime localities of Madhuravada in Visakhapatnam, Alwal in Hyderabad and Keesara in Rangareddy district, 6.77 acres of agricultural land in Krishna district and three houses in Visakhapatnam, Hyderabad and Kocherla in Krishna district, together admeasuring 7,453 sq feet.
In the name of his wife Rajya Lakshmi, Rao had registered 31 plots in various places of Visakhapatnam, West Godavari, Guntur and Hyderabad, admeasuring 15,243 square yards, besides agricultural lands of 27.11 acres in Ranga Reddy, Medak, Krishna and West Godavari districts, two houses in Hyderabad and a four- storeyed hospital building in Visakhapatnam.
He also reportedly floated three shell companies in the name of his son Sunil and wife Rajya Lakshmi and made massive investments in other firms.
He established Righten Soft Technologies and Services Private Limited in the name of his son Sunil, HM Technocrats India Private Limited in the name of his wife and Ashwin Hospitals Pvt Limited in the name of his wife and son. Besides, he also invested Rs 33 lakh each in two companies – Sudhir Solar Power and Sunil Enterprises in the name of his children.
Rao was remanded to 14 days judicial custody by a special court for ACB cases in Vijayawada. The ACB authorities also recommended to the government to suspend him from the services.
During preliminary investigations, it was revealed that Rao had bought most of the “ill-gotten properties” in the name of his in-laws and then got them registered in the name of his wife and son as gift deeds.
According to ACB authorities, Rao had allegedly collected huge amounts as bribes while allotting engineering works undertaken by Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam corporations during his tenure as engineering chief.
There were also allegations that he had siphoned off huge amounts of money from the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission (JNURM) and also from recently introduced AMRUT scheme.
“He was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act for possessing assets disproportionate to his income. Investigation is going on into alleged irregularities done by Rao,” an ACB official said.
The registered value of the disproportionate assets was over Rs 12 crore, but the market value has been estimated to be more than Rs 500 crore, ACB sources said.
A native of Kotcherla in Kalidindi mandal of Krishna district, Rao joined the government service in 1987 as deputy executive engineer and worked in various positions such as chief engineer of Greater Visakha Municipal Corporation (GVMC) and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).