Hyderabad:  Gaddam Nagesh, serving as an additional collector in Medak district of Telangana demanded a bribe of Rs 1.12 crore from a land lord to issue him a Non-Objection-Certificate.

The victim paid Rs 40 lakh as bribe in two installments however failed to arrange the rest (Rs 72 lakh) resulting in the tainted officer demanding 5 acres of land and 8 blank cheques. This does not only reflect the deep-rooted corruption in the state’s revenue department but also the extent to which victims are exploited.

A usual raid against the Gaddam Nagesh turned out to be one of the biggest operations of Telangana’s Anti-Corruption Bureau in 2020, so far. The sleuths arrested five government officials including B Aruna Reddy–Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) of Narsapur, Abdul Sattar Tahasildar of Chilpiched, Waseem Ahmed-Junior assistant-Survey and land records and Kola Jeevan Goud, a private person.

Over a period of 5 years, the sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau arrested 114 officials serving in the revenue department, of which 104 were caught red-handed accepting bribe while 4 were booked under disproportionate assets case. According to the data available, the most corrupt are Tahsildars, Deputy Tahsildar, Revenue divisional officers, Village revenue officers.

A day before the Independence day, 2020 Keesara tehsildar Erva Balraju Nagaraju was caught with Rs  1.10 crore cash at a guest house and Rs 8 lakhs was found in his vehicle. He has been booked in an illegal land transaction case. This is the second time the tehsildar was caught in a graft case.In the DA case booked against him in 2011, ACB failed to get prosecution approval from his parent department as action against the tainted was dropped.

Corruption in the Revenue department

Case studies have shown that a high number of revenue officer demand bribe  to hand over passbooks, which is the latter’s right. Secondly for digitalization of properties, NOCs and other land related documents. Bribe is demanded  based on the rate of the land and geographical location.Arrested additional collector Gaddam Nagesh demanded Rs 1.12 crore bribe at the rate of Rs 1 lakh per acre to issue N.O.C. The tainted officer accepted bribes in two installments, Rs 19.5 lakh and Rs 20.5 lakh respectively.

With land prices skyrocketing in Telangana specially in the city outskirts, land lords are afraid of losing their properties . Taking advantage of the same VRO, Tahsildar and their deputies exploit them to hand over pattadar documents. Passbooks are similar to bank account book, comprising all details, including survey number, name of the landowner, registration number, extent of land, and more.

With the exceeding number of complaints against revenue department officials fleecing land lords, the government of Telangana recently abolished Village Revenue Officer’s post. Withstanding Chief Minister’s long pending decision to revive the revenue department, a bills was passed in the ongoing monsoon assembly session on 9th of September. The system of VRO has been abolished, officers will be accommodated in other departments, the government said.

 

Table: Trap cases registered against revenue officials who demanded and accepted huge bribe amount:

2020

Nagaraju Erva Balaraju–Tahasildar Keesara-Rs 1.10 Crore

Gaddam Nagesh-Additional Collector-Rs 19.5 lakh + Rs 20.5 lakh (bribe taken in two installments)

Nagarjuna Reddy Kandala-Revenue Inspector-Shaikpet –Rs 15 lakhs

Jayalaxmi Maram, Deputy Tahsildar–Nagarkurnool–Rs 1 lakh

2019

M- Village Revenue officer–Rs 4 lakhs

Ravi Raja Kumar Rao K –Tahsildar, Ellanthakunta– Karimnagar–Rs 2 lakh

Siva Rao Siram- Village Revenue Officer,Maddivancha –Mahabubabad- Rs 1.44 lakh

2018

B-Deputy Tahsildar, Bachupally –Medchal- Rs 3 lakhs

Mallikarjun Rao B, Tahsildar, Wanaparthy– Rs 1.50 lakh

2017

Anil Kumar Kummarikuntla-Deputy Tahsildar –Rs 6 lakhs

Ramesh Goud Bandari–Tahsildar, Komuram Bheem – Rs 2 lakh

Srinivas Tallapalli–Deputy Tahsildar – Rs 1.30 lakh

2016

Ravinder Reddy.P, Tahsildar Doulatabad, Medak- Rs 2 lakhs

2015

Sandhya.S-Tahsildar–Ambeerpet–Rs 4lakhs

2011

Srinivas Raju.Ch –Tahsildar,Tirumalgiri–Nalgonda– Rs 1 lakh

2010

Satyanarayana. Y, Law officer ( Dy Collector) Hyderabad- Rs 2 lakhs

Mohan Rao.P –Senior Assistant, Hyderabad collectorate-Rs 1 lakh

Farooq Ahmed B.S-Chief Executive officer, Hyderabad – Rs 1 lakh

 

Cases booked against revenue department officials between 2016 and 2020

  1. Trap – 101 (caught red-handed with bribe)
  2. Disproportionate assets cases – 4 ( immovable and movable properties unearthed)- 4
  3. Other corruption cases – 9

Note: 114 officials serving in the revenue department have been arrested in graft case in a span of 5 years

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP)

Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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