GUNTUR: The victims of police officer Devisetty Durga Prasad heaved a sigh of relief as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) unearthed his properties, and arrested him on Thursday for possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
Two such victims, who are still fighting a legal battle for the properties they had reportedly lost with the intervention of Durga Prasad, narrated their experiences to Express explaining how they had suffered at the hands of the ‘corrupt’ police officer.
Savaram Lakshminarayana, a 45-year-old farmer, who suffered at the hands of Durga Prasad, still feels that the accident in 2011, in which he nearly lost his life, was orchestrated by the police official. “It was in 2010, when I and my father were involved in a dispute over the sharing of agricultural land inherited by my family. My father was not inclined to share the property and it was the first time, he approached Durga Prasad, who was then working as the circle inspector of Guntur Rural police station,” Lakshminarayana recalled.
Savaram Mastan Rao, father of Lakshminarayana, has three children and was reluctant to divide the property. He wanted his son to stop demanding his share in the property and approached the police officer for help.
It was the beginning of a nightmare for Lakshminarayana as he was summoned frequently and even threatened, when he expressed his inability to go to the police station frequently. On one such occasion, CI Durga Prasad allegedly threatened to bring Lakshminarayana’s wife to the station and make her sit there all day if he did not turn up. Lakshminarayana recorded the conversation on his mobile phone.
“When he somehow learnt that I had evidence against him, he made my mother Janaki lodge a complaint against me that I was threatening her. I was really angry with such underhand tactics being adopted and approached the then Superintendent of Police BA Chouhan to lodge a complaint. I showed him the evidence I had. Chouhan pulled up the erring official,” Lakshminarayana said.
But, the problems of the middle-aged farmer were not over yet. Holding a grudge against him, CI Durga Prasad had allegedly made one Ch Sammaiah, a Dalit youth, to lodge a complaint against Lakshmi Narayana that he was attacked with a sharp weapon and was injured. Taken aback, the farmer once again approached the SP, who directed the then DSP Nanjundappa to investigate the case. It was found that the complaint was false.
Meanwhile, vexed with the harassment, Lakshminarayana lodged a private complaint at a mobile court on October 21, 2011 against the officer. After 11 days, he was hit by a speeding vehicle in a road accident and was hospitalised for several months, first in NRI Hospital and later in Amarnath Hospital, where he was fitted with a rod in his fractured hand. The case was dismissed in 2012 and Lakshminarayana approached the district court. After two years, the mobile court was directed to hear the case and the case is still pending.
First Speaker’s grandson too not spared by Durga Prasad
N Sowjanya Kumar, grandson of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly’s first Speaker N Venkatramaiah, along with his friends had burst crackers at the house of the accused police officer Durga Prasad upon learning that the ACB had nabbed him. He is unable to forget the hardships and loss allegedly caused by the accused officer.
“In 2013, Kodali Lalitha, who lives in Shyamalanagar of Guntur city, had approached Pattabhipuram police station, where Durga Prasad was the circle inspector and claimed my 1,860 square yards of land as her own. She lodged a complaint that I had illegally encroached her land and had misbehaved with her. Without even getting into details, the inspector had registered a case against me, but it was closed, as the complaint was found to be false,” he recalled.
However, the real problem started after the case was closed. On learning about it, Lalitha allegedly sent anti-social elements to demolish the compound wall and other structures on the land belonging to Kumar. “I immediately rushed to the police station and lodged a complaint, showing the video recording of the attack and damage to my property. Though an FIR was filed, inspector Durga Prasad did not take any action against her,” he said.
Later, Kumar approached the then DSP Venkateswara Rao and the then Guntur SP A Ravikrishna, but both of them paid no attention to his complaints and chose to remain silent on the issue. Taken aback by their attitude, Kumar approached higher officials of the police department in Hyderabad and Guntur Range IG Sunil Kumar to look into the issue. Sunil Kumar directed Additional SP J Gopinath to investigate the case and it was found that Durga Prasad was at fault and had helped Lalitha take possession of the disputed land, which was valued at `6 crore at that time.
Subsequently, Durga Prasad, sub-inspector Shankar Rao and DSP Venkateswara Rao were suspended and a memo was issued to SP Ravikrishna. The case was the talk of the town at that time. Following it, Kumar had filed a complaint with Guntur 4th additional civil judge court and in 2016, he again approached the HIgh Court complaining that the evidence was tampered with. Both the cases are pending and he is yet to get back possession of the land, which is valued at `12 crore now.