Emaar scam: Accused top AP bureaucrat cries foul

Hyderabad: Suspended IAS officer B P Acharya, the prime accused in the Emaar township "scam" who is currently on bail, today claimed he has been made a "scapegoat" in the case. Acharya has been directed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court to surrender forthwith before the Special CBI Court, hearing the alleged irregularities in the APIIC-Emaar land deal case, after his bail was cancelled on Tuesday.

"It is injustice… I was made a scapegoat though, I have worked sincerely and honestly," the 1983-batch IAS officer maintained. Acharya, who was Andhra Pradesh Home Secretary when he was arrested by CBI on January 31, told the media that "Truth will certainly come out. It`s a war between truth and lies and finally truth will emerge victorious." The top bureaucrat, a former head of state-run APIIC, said people who conspired in this case were roaming freely.

"I can prove my innocence…I have not taken a single penny as bribe in my life. The APIIC stake in the joint venture (with Emaar) has not been reduced (as claimed by CBI) and it still remains at 26 per cent," Acharya claimed. The Central agency filed its chargesheet in February against Acharya and others, which include individuals and private companies, and booked them under relevant sections of IPC and Prevention of Corruption Act. The scam relates to alleged irregularities in land transfer and sale of villas and apartments in Emaar Group`s township project at Gachibowli here.

The CBI, in its FIR in August last year, charged Acharya, then Chairman and Managing Director of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC), with entering into a criminal conspiracy with officials of Emaar Group and unknown public servants to cheat APIIC and secure wrongful gains to the Dubai-based infrastructure firm. CBI alleged APIIC was deprived of its legitimate revenue share to the tune of Rs 43.5 crore from the project it developed jointly with Emaar Group even as its units Emaar Properties and Emaar MGF obtained undue pecuniary gain of about Rs 167 crore.