HYDERABAD: Two top bureaucrats of Andhra Pradesh and executives of Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC and its Indian associates are among 12 accused against whom the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Wednesday filed a charge sheet in the Emaar-APIIC township scam.
Home Secretary B.P. Acharya, the number one accused who was arrested Monday, and L.V. Subrahmanyam are the two senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officials who figured in the list of the accused.
Subrahmanyam is currently chief executive officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD). He told reporters in the temple town of Tirupati that he was shocked over the CBI calling him in the case as a witness but making him an accused.
The list also includes former IAS officer Visheswara Rao who served as secretary in the infrastructure and investment department.
The investigating agency has also included Emaar Properties PJSC, Emaar Hills Township Private Limited (EHTPL), Emaar MGF, Stylish Homes, Boulder Hills and their executives in 157-page charge sheet filed along with 1,834 supporting documents, running into thousands of pages, in the special court dealing with CBI cases at Nampally Criminal Court complex.
The CBI officials said the accused have been charged with cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust under Indian Penal Code and also under Prevention of Corruption Act.
The CBI, which examined 286 witnesses, said Acharya, as then chairman and managing director of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC), entered into a criminal conspiracy with some other public servants and Emaar to dilute APIIC's equity in the township, causing huge losses to the state exchequer.
Those named in the charge sheet as accused include Stylish Home managing director Koneru Prasad, who is already in judicial custody.
Emaar MGF finance head south Vijayaraghavan and Sunil Reddy, an aide of YSR Congress party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy have not been included in the charge sheet. They are currently lodged in Chanchalguda Central Jail.
The court Wednesday extended the judicial custody of all the four accused till Feb 15.
The APIIC's equity in the joint venture company EHTPL was brought down from 26 percent to six percent in 2007 without approval from its board.
The corporation in 2002 had allotted 535 acres of prime land at Manikonda near IT hub in Hyderabad for the joint venture with Dubai-based real estate major Emaar. However, Emaar and its Indian associates, allegedly in collusion with some public servants, diluted the corporation's equity and roped in MGF as partners in the project.
The CBI believes Emaar MGF and their marketing agent Stylish Homes sold the plots for Rs.50,000 per square yard but showed only Rs.5,000 on paper, causing huge losses to APIIC.
Koneru Prasad, managing director of Stylish Homes, alone siphoned off Rs.138 crore through such sales.
Meanwhile, the court granted anticipatory bail to T. Ranga Rao, director of Stylish Homes, who has turned an approver in the case.
The court directed Rao to furnish a surety of Rs.50,000 and also not to leave Hyderabad without court's permission. He was asked to surrender before the court by Feb 6.
In another related development, the court granted special category prisoner status to Sunil Reddy.
It was in August last year that the CBI had taken up investigations into the case on the directions of Andhra Pradesh High Court. The court order came on petitions by Congress legislator Shankar Rao and some leaders of opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
The court had booked Emaar Properties, its Indian associates and unnamed public servants on charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts.
Reacting to the naming of Emaar Properties and its associate companies, Emaar said it would review the contents of the charge sheet before making any comment.
"We maintain that the company continues to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and follows the laws of the land. The company and its officials have faith in the judicial system and are confident that the group will be cleared of the charges and allegations," a statement by Emaar said.
"We believe that there will not be any adverse implications for the business and operations of the company," it added.