Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Wednesday, after hearing the concluding arguments of both sides in the quash petition filed by industrialist Nimagadda Prasad and VANPIC, and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), reserved the orders in the case.
After hearing both sides, which concluded their arguments and counter-arguments, Justice Ujjal Bhuyan, announced that he was reserving the orders in the case.
Submitting its reply arguments before Justice Bhuyan in the quash petition filed by Mr Prasad and VANPIC, the CBI argued that land was acquired at Rs 73,000 per acre, which was later partially sold to an extent to certain real estate companies at an approximate price of Rs 12.5 lakh per acre.
Earlier, Nimmagadda Prasad's defence counsel T. Niranjan Reddy had argued that farmers were happy with the acquisition and the rates at which they were acquired at that time were comparable to land in and around certain pockets of Hyderabad and far higher than the market values in the region.
The CBI denied contentions of Mr Prasad, who argued through his counsel that they had acquired around 13,000 acres of land by paying around Rs 300,000 per acre for development of a sea port and an industrial corridor.
CBI counsel Surendra said, "Prasad actually conducted real estate business. He sold 900 acres to a real estate firm. He also sold acquired land to a thermal power project company and to infra major Navayuga.”
Further, Surendra submitted that not a single brick had been laid even after four years of agreement towards the development of a port, despite having acquired the land.
Mr Prasad argued that he as an individual and VANPIC as a company was running to courts for over a decade, because of a case registered by the CBI due to political pressure. The CBI refuted the charge that its case, filed during the UPA regime, was politically motivated.
The CBI, however, argued that the project was a criminal conspiracy, principally hatched by the then AP Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, his son Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and Nimmagadda Prasad.
“It was a Government-to-Government (G2G) project agreement. The three of them brought Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) into the picture for their own purposes. But, RAK never came to any agreements. Only Prasad executed them, including the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and concession agreement. Within 15 days after signing the MoU, Prasad entered into three agreements with RAK. Actually, the percentage of share between the RAK and AP government in the project was also changed as part of the criminal conspiracy,” the CBI counsel submitted.
"The government led by Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy accorded a big infrastructure project for which neither Nimmagadda Prasad nor VANPIC Projects had requisite experience," the CBI said.
Dismissing charges that the CBI was making contentions without concrete evidence and only based on circumstantial evidence and conjecture, the CBI said, after examining 280 witnesses and thousands of documents, the CBI came to a conclusion that there was misuse of power by the-then CM, and his son, who was a Parliamentarian at that time. The so-called investments of Rs 854 into Mr Jagan Reddy's companies were actually bribes. Even his (Nimmagadda) company secretary and chartered accountant had given expert opinion that these investments were absurd.
In the rejoinder arguments, Nimmagadda Prasad`s counsel T. Niranjan Reddy placed on record that before the court that the CBI argument that Ras Al Khaimah would mobilise Rs 17,500 crore was misplaced because it was a commitment only to raise the funds from secondary sources for subsequent developmental projects around the area.
Mr Reddy also argued that Mr Prasad had only invested around Rs 200 crore in Bharati Cements, which being a bonafide investment was divested to a global major as an acquisition, fetched him around Rs 600 crore. The profits made from Bharati Cements were reinvested to the tune of Rs 400 crore into Jagati Publications, which published Sakshi newspaper and ran an eponymous TV channel. Mr Prasad has thus not invested anything save the profits from Bharati into Sakshi, and that too to the tune of Rs 400 crore, and not Rs 850 crore as factually incorrectly stated by the CBI counsel.
Prasad's counsel Niranjan Reddy and Brahmananda Reddy`s counsel Vinod Kumar Deshpande further submitted to the court that the CBI's arguments were made without any documentary evidence and suppressed or misrepresented facts.
After hearing both sides, Justice Bhuyan reserved orders in the case....