I Venkateswarlu, ex-endowments commissioner: Only he is the culprit
source: Eenadu, May 3, 2007
Only Past commissioner is responsible for temple land scam
No evidence on others
Justice Venkatarami Reddy report
"Newstoday" procures the report clandestinely
MS Satyaranarayana Rao is not mentioned at all
I. Venkateswarlu, the retired Endowments commissioner is only responsible for the massive land scam, says Justice Venkatarami Reddy report. Even though there are allegations against ex-Endowments minister MS Satyanarayana Rao and PCC president K Keshava Rao the commission did not mention their names in the report. Except I. Venkateswarlu there is no evidence against other officers and 'OTHERS' in this massive land scam says the report.
After Congress party formed the Government a massive scam involving temple lands took place in April, May 2005. Eeenadu investigation exposed this scam. I Venkateswarlu, the endowments commissioner irresponsibly sold lands at throwaway prices which donors have donated to temples for their daily maintenance. The investigation also exposed the role of congress leaders. The then endowments minister M S Satyanarayana Rao wrote letters recommending sale of temple lands. Mr.. M S Satyanarayana Rao openly declared that the ban on sale of temple lands was abolished on the recommendation of PCC president K Keshava Rao. Mr. MS Satyaranarayana Rao offered to resign which was promptly rejected by chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. He was shifted to sports ministry. On June 15, 2005 a commission was set up under Justice Venkatarami Reddy to investigate the massive scam. An year and half later the commission submitted the report which the state Government has not made public yet. "Newstoday" got hold of a copy of the report.
In this 700 page report there is no mention of alleged conspirators MSR and K kesava Rao and other officers. The entire blame was put on I Venkateswarlu and his ways of dealing. Mr. Venkateswarlu who was employed as endowments commissioner from Jan 2005 to May 2005 has sold hundreds of acres of lands illegally at throwaway prices thereby causing massive loss to temples. Many of his decisions are in bad spirit and all the decisions taken by him violated the law, clarified the report. The commissioner cleared 61 files related to temple land sale just in 4 months 10 days, the duration in which he was the commissioner.
All these decisions were taken just 2 months before his retirement. He cleared 12 files in April and 36 files in May. In addition to that he pursued 12 more cases till the end but did not clear them. He signed 6 more files with month and year without mentioning the date. All these events point to commissioner acting in hurry without taking enough precautions. Clearing these many (61) files related to land sale just before retirement in such a short time points to his interest in clearing these files before his retirement.
This also points his dishonesty. The commission pointed out that he misused power under 1987 law section 30 (89-2). Though MSR and KK's names cropped up related to scam in sale of lands at Devara Yamzal , the commission pointed out the the only the endowments commissioner is responsible. Devara Yamzal lands in the outskirts of Hyderabad had a market value of over 1 crore per acre but the commissioner decided to sell them at Rs. 4.32 lakh per acre. The commissioner took into account the basic and market prices mentioned by MRO and sub-registrar without considering the prevalent market prices and real estate boom in 2005.
On some lands the rate decided by the commissioner is far less than the basic price mentioned by MRO. For the land identified by RC book number M4/57820/2002 the market value identified by sub registrar was Rs. 2.5 lakh whereas the commissioner the fixed the price at Rs. 1.8 lakh. The 11 acre land sold to Mr. Venkat Rao (RC book number: M4/61934/2004) has a market value of Rs. 4 lakh/acre as decided by sub registrar but the commissioner sold it for Rs. 3.5 lakh/acre. The 2.5 acre land sold to KV Srihari Rao (RC book number M4/49928/2004) faced the same fate exclaimed Justice Venkatarami Reddy.
23 acres pertaining to C Bhagyalakshmi and 9 others though valued at Rs. 12 lakh/ acre was sold at Rs. 3.1 lakh/acre by the commissioner. The 22.78 acres of land pertaining to K Raghava Rao (L1/61322/2004) was valued at Rs. 4-5 lakh/acre whereas the commissioner Venkateswarlu sold it at Rs. 90,000/acre.
The officers who were supposed to protect the temple lands and selling off the lands at throwaway prices by claiming encroachment. In Guntur district, Palnad town 2544 acres of land belonging to 57 Hindu institutions was sold to SC corporation at nominal price by claiming potential encroachment. In Rajahmundry, temple lands worth crores was sold to a petroleum company at a very low price. In all these instances, the commissioner ordered management committees to agree to lower prices. Due to this temples lost crores of property. It is very difficult to estimate the extent of loss exclaimed Justice Venkatarami Reddy.
Where is the action on commission's report?
It has been confirmed that Justice Venkatarami Reddy submitted the report to Government 4 or 5 months ago. But the Government which did not make the report public did not even take necessary steps. It is being criticized that the report has been made public.