Retiring Andhra municipal official held with Rs 500-cr ‘disproportionate assets’
Andhra Pradesh town planning director, who is to retire on Wednesday, was planning to throw a party abroad. He also owns a hotel in Shirdi and 300 acres of land near Vijayawada.Updated: Sep 26, 2017 17:47 IST
A senior official of the municipal department in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam was arrested by the anti-corruption bureau (ACB) on Monday night for allegedly amassing assets worth over Rs 500 crore, just three days before his retirement.
Golla Venkata Raghurami Reddy, director of state town planning in municipal administration department, was arrested after ACB authorities raided his house and other properties in 15 places, including Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati, and Maharashtra’s Shirdi.
Reddy will retire on Wednesday. He was planning to throw a grand party to his friends and relatives on the occasion of his retirement at a resort abroad and even booked flight tickets for them.
He also owns a hotel, Sai Suraj Kunj, in Shirdi and 300 acres of valuable land in Gannavaram near Vijayawada among other properties. ACB officers also found Rs 50 lakh in cash at Reddy’s residence.
ACB director general RP Thakur said the raids, which began on Monday morning, would continue on Tuesday as well. The market value of the assets confiscated so far has been estimated to be around Rs 500 crore.
“We are yet to open the bank lockers of Reddy. Only after that, we would be able to arrive at the magnitude of the wealth,” he said.
“Reddy was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act for possessing assets disproportionate to his income, which would be around Rs 1 lakh per month. The investigation is going on into the alleged irregularities indulged in by Reddy,” the official said.
The ACB authorities also raided the houses of his cousin Vijayawada town planning AO Venkata Sivaprasad and other relatives, who were acting as “benamis” of Reddy.
According to ACB sources, as many as 15 teams participated in the simultaneous raids that began in different places in the state, including one in Shirdi, early in the morning. Raids were conducted in Guntur, Chittoor and Mangalagiri as well.
Raids were also conducted under the supervision of ACB’s deputy superintendent of police Ramadevi at Sivaprasad’s residence in Vijayawada, where they found kilos of gold and diamonds worth Rs 19 crore stashed in washing machines.
Sources said Sivaprasad’s wife Gayatri was also acting as a benami of Reddy. She was found to be in possession of several promissory notes, gold ornaments, gold idols and owns one functional hall in Mangalagiri, 16 flats in several apartment complexes and hundreds of acres farmlands in Velpur.
Eight people, including Reddy’s in-laws, were found to be holding properties on behalf of Reddy.
Raghu, who joined the town planning department as assistant director in 1988, later worked in Nellore, Anantapur, and Visakhapatnam.