Have you ever heard of a Chief Minister cheating his own Cabinet to favour a private party? This is exactly what YSR did to benifit Nimmagadda Prasad’s VAPIC project. (In return for this, Prasad funnelled hundreds of crores into YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s companies.)
“The Cabinet only discussed the Government taking over assigned lands. There was no mention of transferring the same to VANPIC”. This is what senior minister Anam Ram Narayan Reddy says today. This is also what Minister Dharmanna Prasad Rao (currently listed as A5 in the CBI’s VANPIC chargesheet) has been arguing. So what exactly happened?
The YSR Government wanted to acquire 6493.19 acres in Prakasam district for the Vanpic project. However at this time some village panchayts opposed this land acquisition. A substantial portion of these lands were also “assigned” lands which belonged to Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes and could not be alienated.
On September 5th 2008, a note was prepared by revenue department (No 45696). It was proposed that unused assigned lands should be acquired despite resistance from village panchayats and same issue should be discussed by the cabinet. The Cabinet discussion was essential as there were High Court guidelines on alienating assigned lands.
On September 8th 2008, the Cabinet meeting was held with YSR presiding and Ramakanth Reddy (then Chief Secretary) as the convenor. Table Item 7 in the meeting was the assigned lands issue. On September 9th, Ramakanth Reddy prepared the proceeding note of this meeting. While the revenue department note and the Cabinet discussion was about the issue of acquisition of assigned lands despite Panchayat objections, the proceedings note prepared by Ramakanth Reddy said the Cabinet had approved allocation of 6406.14 acres to VANPIC. This note was then forwarded to the Revenue Secretary on the same day and GOs were subsequnetly issued. So essentially what was discussed in the Cabinet meeting was government acquisition of assigned lands while the GOs issued were regarding allocation of acquired assigned lands to VANPIC! (ABN)
This is the essence of Anam Ram Narayan Reddy’s claim that the cabinet did not discuss “allocation of land to VANPIC” but only “acquisition of assigned lands by the Government when a Panchayat does not agree to the same”.