The CBI on Monday informed the High Court that it is now willing to take up investigation of the 2004 deal between the then TDP government and IMG Bharata Academies by way of which large tracts of land were alienated to the latter.
Until now the CBI had not made progress on the investigation, and cited the lack of resources and manpower when asked why.
However, earlier this month on Sept 6, the Congress government submitted an affidavit before the High Court stating that it had accorded its consent to the probe in December 2006 under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946.
It stated that the agency was already conducting investigations into several other cases in the state and had even filed charge sheets in some of them; hence its plea of resource constraints would not wash, it argued. So the agency on Monday submitted a counter-affidavit to the bench, comprising acting chief justice P C Ghose and justice Vilas V Afzulpurkar, stating its readiness to take up the investigation.
After seeing the CBI’s counter affidavit, the bench said it would pronounce its decision on Oct 1.
The bench was dealing with two public interest petitions, one filed by T Sriranga Rao, a practising advocate, and V Vijay Sai Reddy, financial advisor to Jagan Mohan Reddy, and another by senior journalist A B K Prasad, both urging haste by the CBI.
In a previous hearing, the bench had directed the CBI counsel to file a counter-affidavit in the matter. It had also pulled up the agency for expressing its inability to probe the case even after the Rajasekhara Reddy government had referred the probe to it.
As part of the deal, 850 acres of prime land on the outskirts of Hyderabad was allotted to IMG Bharata Academies at a discounted rate of `50,000 per acre. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the two parties in Feb. 2004 when Chandrababu Naidu was officiating as caretaker chief minister.
The CBI’s counter affidavit stated the agency’s Hyderabad office -- following a state government directive in Sept. 2006 -- has already registered five preliminary enquiries into allegations pertaining to the ORR project, the HUDA townships at Mankhal and Kokapet, acquisition of land for the Shamshabad airport and the APIIC Hardware Park.