CAG findings welcomed

Staff Reporter

VISAKHAPATNAM: Forum for Better Visakha (FBV) on Wednesday welcomed the latest report of Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) squarely indicting the State government on the ‘irregular and improper' land allotments it made to erstwhile Satyam Computers in Visakhapatnam, Maytas in Machlipatnam and other companies elsewhere during the last three to four years.

FBV had, time and again, pointed out that the land alienations it (the State) had made in favour of companies such as Satyam, Maytas, Nagarjuna Construction Company, East Coast Energy, Meghavaram Power Company, Hindujas, Jindal, Anrak, Thermal Powertech Corporation and others were highly irregular as they were made through non-transparent procedures and demanded their cancellation.

The allotments also were undervalued, lacked transparency and in violation of laws such as Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 and Coastal Regulation Zone, the Central Act on protection of ancient historical sites, the Master Plan of VUDA. Most companies had no obligation to provide employment opportunities and other benefits to the local community or, where such obligations existed, they had not complied with the same.

Retired IAS officer and FBV convener E.A.S. Sarma said the latest CAG report and the earlier CAG reports had amply vindicated FBV's statements. It is significant that CAG came to the conclusion that the Satyam land deal of 50 acres on the outskirts of the city alone delivered an undue benefit of more than Rs.165 crores to the company and its promoters who subsequently confessed to have cheated the investors to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees. If the undue benefits granted to the other influential companies were also to be taken into account, the magnitude of possible corruption in the State government may run into thousands of crores. From the public's point of view, it is necessary to get the names of these illicit beneficiaries identified and their illegally acquired properties confiscated by the State for being used for a genuine public purpose.

Much before the Satyam scam broke out, FBV had addressed the State Government, as early as on December 14, 2008, pointing out how the Satyam land allotment (50 acres) made vide Govt. of A.P. Revenue (Assignment –I) Dept. G.O.Ms.No. 1439 Dated 04-12-2008 was irregular and illegal in several ways and requested the government to scrap the deal forthwith.