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As Andhra’s trifurcation of capital grinds to a halt, some dubious land deals emerge

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New Delhi (ILNS): The Andhra Pradesh Government’s dream of a trifurcation of the state capital is at a standstill after the High Court ordered a status quo on the two new laws for three-capital plan.

Even the Supreme Court had refused to give relief to the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh, stating that “the order is pending with High Court and it may decide the issue expeditiously.” The matter is going on in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

Now it has come to light that some dubious land purchase deals had happened, probably on the basis of leaked information about the trifurcation. These purchases were legal, but the fact that they happened in places where logically land prices should not have moved up had the trifurcation idea not come about, lends some credibility about the dubious nature of those deals.

The new tri-capital plan of the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government involves setting up of an executive, a judicial and a legislative capital at Vishakhapatnam, Amaravati and Kurnool, respectively.

In July Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan had signed the two bills – the Andhra Pradesh Development Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Bill, 2020 and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Bill, 2020.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has called the Governor’s decision on the three-capital plan a historic blunder. He termed the decision as unlawful as it is in violation of the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act 2014.

The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act came into existence on March 1, 2014 and a separate State of Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh.

A batch of petitions were filed in the state high court against the government decision to move the capital from Amaravati and sought a stay on the two new laws. Farmers from Amaravati are among those who have taken a decision to take the legal route against the government as they had given up their land in promise for returns in the future.

In 2014, when Nara Chandrababu Naidu formed his government it was clear that the state had Amaravati as its capital after the state’s bifurcation. Most of the eminent members, experts, cabinet colleagues in the party had suggested Amaravati as the capital because it was also the ancient capital of the ‘Satavahana Dynasty’. The metropolitan areas of Guntur, Vijayawada and Tenali are the major conurbations of Amaravati. Amaravati was established as the State Capital in 2015.

When Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy came to power in 2019, he had proposed the three-capital theory. It was found that several top leaders of his party and officers of the Andhra Government had purchased lands in the other two capitals prior to the announcement of the capital. This makes it clear that top functionaries of the Andhra government had leaked the information for their personal financial gains.

After Jaganmohan Reddy become the Chief Minister there could be seen that cases against the former officers or high profile people were opened up.

The decision of registration of FIR against former advocate general could be seen as an example. But the former Advocate General approached the State High Court to take the stay on the investigation against him for alleged land deals during the Chandrababu Naidu government regime. In which the High Court has stayed the proceedings against the former AG and other respondents.

There were allegations that former advocate general had purchased the lands at Amaravati before the declaration of it as capital city falls flat, because the then chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu had made a statement after becoming the chief minister that he considered onto aspects to announce the new capital, the one already developed one and the other where they will have enough space and land bank with historical background. When the question was asked to him that, what may be that place than, he had declared that, it maybe Amaravati because of its connection with ‘Satavahana Dynasty’ and historical importance. 

But when Jaganmohan Reddy came to power, the near and dear ones in his government had also purchased the lands in the cities, prior to declaration of Vishakhapatnam & Kurnool, as capital city. 

Sources close to the AP CM office disclosed on the condition of anonymity that Jagan chose to file these FIRs, after he was forced to file cases pending against the political persons in the State. 

Under directions of the Court that such pending matters shall be decided within a six month period. That could cost Jagan’s Job as a Chief Minister. As per the affidavit, Jagan had filed, when he had contested State assembly elections last year, it disclosed that there were around 31 criminal cases pending against him. Under the column ‘pending criminal cases’ Jagan declared that cases were pending against him with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Directorate of Enforcement (ED) and different police stations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

It makes it clear that this three capital theory was nothing but a preposition to be benefited by land deals.

-India Legal Bureau

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