Andhra Pradesh: Revenue babus booked in travel scam

Rajahmundry: ACB sleuths on Saturday booked a criminal case against Jangareddygudem revenue divisional officer S. Lavanna, Polavaram tahsildar M. Mukhanti and other officers on charges of misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 1 crore during transportation of Polavaram irrigation project affected people to rehabilitation centres on Saturday.

ACB officials led by West Godavari DSP V. Gopala Krishna carried out simultaneous searches at the offices of the RDO and tahsildar at Jangareddygudem and Polavaram respectively in West Godavari and seized several bills and files. 

The revenue officials are facing allegations of misuse of government funds to transport the project affected people to rehabilitation centres earlier.

In the first phase of evacuation and rehabilitation of Polavaram project affected people as part of implementation of relief and rehabilitation package, the authorities have identified seven villages including Ram-aiahpeta, Chegondapalli, Thotagondhi, Singanapalli, Pydipaka, Devara-gondhi and Mamidigondhi that were getting affected. 

They were shifted to rehabilitation centres set up at a place located near Jangareddygudem, Injaram and near the office of tahsildar at Polavaram. 

According to an estimate, about 2,400 affected families from the seven villages are to be shifted to rehabilitation centres. The distance from the affected villages to rehabilitation centres ranges from 6 to 12 km. 

The revenue authorities, instead of arranging vehicles officially for their transportation from their affected villages to the rehabilitation centres, reportedly obligated the contract agencies to engage their vehicles and also used some other vehicles. They then submitted fake transport bills with the registration numbers of vehicles to the treasury and withdrew nearly Rs 1 crore. 

The ACB authorities carried out raid at the office of Polavaram tahsildar in the last week of September and seized some records. Following up the case, the authorities booked a criminal case against the revenue officials and seized all relevant records.

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