Amaravati: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team inspected mining quarries in Gurazala as part of the investigation into excavation of Rs 800 crore worth limestone without permission during the TDP government’s tenure.
The CBI team questioned several locals and agents of prime suspects. CBI has so far booked 17 people in the case. Sources said CBI has satellite images of the quarries to verify the quantum of exploitation. Officials from revenue, mines and geology accompanied the CBI team during the inspection.
The team is planning to record the statements of the licenses of the region and local limestone processing mills to connect the evidence. CBI is also looking into the money trail from bank accounts of the accused to the prime suspect. Sources said several fake invoices were created to show the entire quantum of limestone was sold to local mills while the stock was allegedly transported outside the state.
Last week CBI said it had carried out searches in 25 places including at the residence of former MLA Yarapathineni Srinivasa Rao and his close associates in Guntur, Gurazala and Hyderabad.
The agency said it recovered several incriminating documents, mobile phones, material objects and cash during the searches. CBI is now looking for more scientific evidence to tighten the charges against the accused. The accused allegedly carried out illegal and unauthorised mining, quarrying and transportation of limestone in Konanki village of Piduguralla mandal, Kesanupalli and Nadikudi villages of Dachepalli mandal of Guntur district for several years and caused massive revenue loss to the exchequer.
A local mining licencee, who was allegedly tortured by the former legislator’s followers to give up his licence, had brought the illegal activities to the light when he filed a petition in the high court. Then MLC and YSRC leader TGV Krishna Reddy extended his support to the complainant and fought against the illegal miners by providing evidence before the court.
Taking serious note of the fraudulent practices resorted to by the accused to exploit natural resources, the high court had issued notices to CBI and almost decided to handover the case to the agency. Promising a fair probe, the then TDP government ordered a CID investigation into the case.