TRS MP K Keshav Rao found himself embroiled in a controversy on Saturday, after the opposition rallied together and alleged his involvement in the multi-crore land scam in Hyderabad's Miyapur area.
The land scam was unearthed in the last week of May, and involved the illegal transfer of several hundred acres of government land to private individuals by the Kukatpally sub-registrar.
According to reports, the issue involves 50 acres of lands purchased by the TRS MP's daughter and daughter-in-law at Ibrahimpatnam, allegedly from 'Goldstone' Prasad, who is one of the main suspects in the case.
Additionally, the opposition allege that around 38 acres out of the 50 acres, were part of the scam and also now claim it to be government land.
The scam came to light after Medchal district registrar N Saidi Reddy filed a complaint at the Kukatpally police station.
Following this, the Cyberabad police swung into action, and arrested sub-registrar R Srinivasa Rao, along with PS Parthasarathi and PVS Sharma, directors of two firms.
The police said that Srinivasa Rao had illegally aided the transfer of land, from the state government, to the other two individuals, which resulted in a loss of over Rs 500 crore to the state's exchequer.
The Medchal district registrar said that he filed a complaint after he noticed that Parthasarathi executed four registration deeds in favour of Sharma, while a memo from 2007 showed that the land belonged to the state government.
The alleged connection
PS Prasad, or 'Goldstone' Prasad, is a Hyderabad businessman, and the elder brother of Parthasarathi, one of the accused who was arrested in the case.
While initial reports suggested that the arrested trio were the main culprits in the case, later reports have increasingly been pointing fingers to Prasad.
Claiming that he was involved in major investment scams in the US in the 1980s, Deccan Chronicle quoted an official saying, "The investigation is leading to an extremely intricate case of a highly organised land scam probably orchestrated by Prasad himself. He is not yet in the forefront, but we are trying to get evidence against him. Once we get proof, we can initiate action against him.â€ť
Demand for CBI enquiry
On Saturday, opposition parties including the Telangana units of the Congress and the BJP demanded a thorough enquiry into the case.
Claiming that the state unit of the CID would not conduct an unbiased investigation, both parties demanded that the case be probed by the CBI.
Speaking to News18, Congress Spokesperson M Krishank said, "There seems to be a direct link. Keshav Rao's family purchased the land from Goldstone Infra Ltd., who is the kingpin of the scam. Did they not know they were buying land from a criminal? The larger question is if officials are confirming it's government land, then were the documents fabricated? There are many unanswered questions, which the TRS government must answer."
"The CM's silence on this issue will eventually implicate him. He must explain his stand on the scam to the public," BJP spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao was quoted as saying
However, the TRS leader has also not stayed silent on the issue, and has been taking questions from the media.
Addressing a press conference, Rao stated that all due legal procedures were followed when he and his family purchased the land, and even presented some documents from the Revenue Department in front of the media.
â€śThe land was purchased after making proper enquiries with the revenue officials. A total of 50 acres were purchased after a thorough verification of land records. 38 acres of land in Ibrahimpatnam was purchased by my daughter and daughter-in-law. The land was not a controversial land,â€ť he was quoted as saying.
He also claimed that the High Court too had declared it as a private land, and denied reports of the area being under investigation in the recent scam.