HYDERABAD: The full bench of the Hyderabad High Court has directed the CB-CID of Andra Pradesh to complete the investigation into Yeleru land acquisition scam and submit a final report before the competent magistrate court without any delay.
The bench also directed the probe agency to file final report without penal provisions since it was entrusted with the trial court.The bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justices SV Bhatt and M Seetharama Murti passed the order recently, (before bifurcation of the common high court into high courts for the states of AP and Telangana), while considering the petitions filed by the State government and the accused.
The scam broke out in 1996 when allegations were raised against court staff and others for large scale irregularities in payment of compensation for the land acquired to construct a canal from Dowleswaram to Visakhapatnam steel plant. It was alleged that several fraudulent claims were made and court records were tampered with.
In 1998, the CB-CID conducted an inquiry and submitted report to the High Court. Taking the report into consideration, a committee was constituted with two high court judges to hear the case. A report was submitted to the then High Court chief justice. The High Court made it clear that as the irregularities took place in the then sub-courts of Anakapalli and Chodavaram, the Visakha district judge was empowered to hear the case under CrPC 340, and that complaints can be lodged against those responsible in the local court concerned. Meanwhile, the persons, who were facing corruption charges, approached the high court contending that the district judge has no power to hear and lodge complaint in view of the district court having powers to hear appeals against judgments of the sub-courts.
Agreeing with their arguments, the then high court bench set aside the orders passed by the district judge on September 27, 2002. Aggrieved with the same, the State government moved the Supreme Court. In 2006, the Apex Court upheld the order of the High Court. Meanwhile, some of the accused moved the High Court contending that once criminal appeals were resolved, it was not proper for the high court to revive the appeals and pass orders directing the concerned junior civil judge to lodge complaint. Besides, the accused have raised several technical objections over who should complain and who should conduct the trial in the said matter.