‘Amaravati land scam’: SC stays Andhra HC gag order on media

The apex court passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh government against the September 15 order of high court

Supreme Court
"We are with the plight of farmers and sympathetic to their cause. But you have to alter the way it is going. You have to convince and bring out the solution," Chief Justice SA Bobde told the representatives of the Bharatiya Kisan Union.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (November 25) stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s order restraining the media from publishing news regarding an FIR against alleged irregularities in land transactions in Amaravati.

A bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah said the high court shall not decide till January last week the pending matter which relates to the alleged illegal land transactions for shifting of the Andhra Pradesh capital to Amaravati.

The apex court passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by the Andhra Pradesh government against the September 15 order of the high court.

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The top court, which did not issue a notice to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on the appeal, sought responses from others, including the director-general of police of Andhra Pradesh and the state’s former Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas on whose plea the high court had passed the order.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing to January 2021.

On September 15, the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Andhra Pradesh registered a case against Srinivas and 12 others in connection with the alleged Amaravati land scam. The development came a day after Srinivas filed a petition in the high court seeking a direction to the government not to take coercive actions, like arrest, against him in relation to any inquiry or investigation being conducted.

The former AG requested the court to call for all records pertaining to any inquiry or investigation being conducted by any of the state agencies and all respondents, including the chief minister and the DGP.

The ACB said that a criminal case under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, read with Section 120(B) of IPC, was registered based on the complaint received by the director-general, ACB, and also the report of a preliminary inquiry.

This is a case of abuse of official position by the then Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas and thereby obtaining pecuniary advantage in the form of landed properties for his father-in-law, brother-in-law and his associates and acquaintances from June 2014 to December 2014, it said.

“And later he obtained such pecuniary advantage for himself and his wife through purchase of some of these properties in the years 2015 and 2016,” the ACB added in the release.

The scam related to the alleged purchase of over 4,000 acres of land by those privy to information of the location of the capital and their suspected benamis, between June 1 and December 31, 2014, during the previous TDP rule.

(With inputs from PTI)

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