Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary B.P. Acharya was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation here on Monday for his role in the fast-snowballing scandal of irregularities in allotment of high-priced plots for villas in the township project of Dubai-based real estate developer Emaar.
He is the fourth person arrested in the case after Trimex group chairman Koneru Prasad; Sunil Reddy, an aide of Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy; and G. Venkat Vijay Raghav, a top executive of Emaar MGF.
Mr. Acharya, a senior IAS officer, was vice-chairman and managing director of the public sector A.P. Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) in 2005-10 when the alleged irregularities were committed. The APIIC is a joint venture partner in the project with Emaar Properties, with a 26 per cent stake.
Mr. Acharya's arrest was imminent as he was named the prime accused and charged with criminal conspiracy, cheating and corruption. He was remanded in police custody for interrogation till Wednesday, when the agency is expected to file its charge sheet.
Mr. Acharya, who was summoned by the CBI in the morning to face inquiry, was arrested around 3 p.m. and produced in the special court for CBI cases at Nampally. His wife, Ranjeev R. Acharya, also a senior IAS officer, was present in the court hall. In a brief interaction with the judge, he said he did nothing wrong as he had acted in good faith.
In its 13-page arrest report, the CBI charged Mr. Acharya with nearly 20 offences of cheating the APIIC. One said he allowed the developers to dispose of land on the 535-acre project site, violating the agreement. He did not take any action on lapses, pointed out by a committee appointed by him, till his transfer.
The case was registered in August last after the Andhra Pradesh High Court took up a complaint by Congress MLA P. Shankar Rao.
He alleged that the APIIC suffered a huge loss as the villas were sold for amounts ranging up to Rs.50,000 a sq. yard at Nanakramguda, near Hyderabad's information technology hub, whereas the price shown in the documents was only Rs.5,000 a sq. yard.
The excess money was pocketed by middlemen, including Mr. Prasad, Mr. Reddy and the other accused. The charge against Mr. Acharya is that he “knowingly and intentionally” did not object to Emaar showing the price of Rs.5,000 in the documents when the prevailing price was much higher.
The CBI said the accused collected nearly Rs.138 crore by selling the plots at inflated rates to customers, who include several top politicians, professionals, film actors and industrialists.