Land grabbing, partial contracts distribution, extension of project budget – these are some of the many examples of how Chandrababu Naidu ruled Andhra Pradesh during his four-and-a-half-year reign as CM of the state. The corruption charges were overwhelming and was pointed by none other than CAG, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. While there were many scams, the lands scams were the biggest of all. It stood out starkly against the backdrop of corrupt government of Chandrababu Naidu. No doubt people have been asking who is 420 in AP referring to Chandrababu Naidu and the list of scams he left behind.
Land scams were so common during his rule that keeping a list of all the land scams is not easy. Here are some of the well-known land scams that happened under the leadership of Chandrababu Naidu:
The Vizag land scams was baffling of all where lands records of one lakh acres of land went missing. The Hudhud cyclone was blamed for the missing records, but the truth was that the papers were made to disappear. The land records were tampered with by the TDP leaders and people associated with the party. They grabbed the land with wrongful means and then took away the land with the help land pooling system. When the time came for the answers, the authorities blamed the cyclone.
Incidentally, the news of missing records of the one lakh acres of land were reported after three years of the cyclone Hudhud. Special Investigation Team was assigned the job to find out the truth. But, after the team submitted the report, the govt did nothing and simply stayed silent on the matter. It was clear that the Naidu govt was responsible for it.
The most interesting fact about the whole gone-with-hudhud was that the cyclone wasn’t strong enough to bring a flood. If there was no flood and only strong wind, how come the records went missing in the first place. The Chandrababu Naidu govt failed to provide any satisfactory answers. This is one of the reasons why Chandrababu Naidu’s name always comes up when its asked “who is 420 in AP”.
2- Inam Lands Scam
It was reported that 24,614 Acres of Inam Lands worth 5907 crores of rupees were grabbed by the Chandrababu Naidu govt. Clearly, it was done illegally because as per the act -:
Inam lands should be enjoyed only by those who are serving the temples and charitable trusts. They would not have any right to transfer or sell those lands. – Andhra Area Inam (Abolition and Conversion) Act, 1956
Ryotwari pattas shall not be given to inam lands. The sale-purchase transactions of those lands should be banned.
– AP High Court judgement December, 2015
Despite these, the Naidu govt still went on with the land grabbing culture. The TDP govt then had openly voileted the High Court judgement and the laws to grab inam lands. The Naidu govt openly took procession of the prime lands across the state. The state govt even went ahead with the plans to amend the Land Act to hand over 24,614 acres of inam land worth Rs.7,384 crore to people who want to exploit the land and the people.
The Naidu govt formed a committee and order it to amend the existing Inam lands law to allow the registration of inam lands to those who have ryotwari pattas for the concerned lands. To obtain the lands, the TDP leaders and lawmakers started obtaining ryotwari pattas (to inam lands) in their names of their benamis. Then document was created to show that the lands were bought from the benamis. This whole thing was happening while the Inam land grabbing was still illegal.
The TDP leaders who got the land through the amended Land Act were set to make a huge amount of money.
Perhaps the most famous land scam in Andhra Pradesh was the Amravati Land Scam. Amravati was supposed to be the World-class capital city. To make it the dream capital, the govt needed the land. When they couldn’t get it through the Land Acquisition rules, they resorted to land pooling. The land taken from the farmers were bought at throwaway price and the compensation provided to them wasn’t enough.
But the scam was the inside trading. Before Amravati was announced as the capital city, the TDP leaders and their benamis had purchased the land in and around Amravati at a throw away price. It was clear that after the announcement the price of the land will go up and the people associated with TDP will make money. This inside trading led to the biggest land scam in the state. Moreover, despite the promise, the work on making Amravati the capital city remained unfinished like most of the work of the Chandrababu Naidu. No doubt that Chandrababu Naidu is always associated with the question who is 420 in AP.
Who is 420 in AP? This is easy to answer if you analyze the various land scams that has happened during the rule of Chandrababu Naidu. He took away the land by illegal means so that he and his cronies could make money while the people of the state suffered. The corruption was at its peak during the Naidu govt rule and land scams were just the tip of the iceberg.