Hyderabad: The controversy over auction of lands belonging to Sadavarti Satram of Guntur on Tuesday took a new turn with the Hyderabad High Court directing the AP government to conduct open auction afresh within six weeks and file a report on September 21. A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice J. Uma Devi was dealing with a petition by YSRC legislator A. Ramakrishna Reddy alleging that valuable land of the charitable institution located in Tamil Nadu had been sold for Rs 22.44 crore in a fixed auction with the connivance of officials. He alleged TD leaders had bought the lands in the names of their benamis.
Mr Ponnavolu Sudhakar Reddy, counsel for the petitioner, said that his client has paid Rs 27.44 crore to the endowments department as per court orders to buy the land, by paying Rs 5 crore over the amount fetched in the auction conducted by the government. Mr B. Chandrasen Reddy, counsel appearing for the highest bidder who had offered Rs 22.44 crore for 83 acres in the government auction, said the petitioner has not approached the court with "clean hands". He asked the court to direct the MLA to deposit Rs 500 crore, as he himself had admitted in his plea that the land would cost Rs 1,000 crore. He alleged that the MLA was trying to get the land in the guise of a PIL.
The bench said that to ascertain the intention of petitioner, they had asked him to pay Rs 5 crore more, and he had paid the amount. The bench said the "endeavour of the court is that to see that more money to comes to the government and we are right now not handing over the lands to the petitioner and let a fresh auction to be held". The bench ordered the AP government to conduct open auction afresh by fixing Rs 27.44 crore as base price.