Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh police on Saturday arrested opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader J.C. Prabhakar Reddy and his son Asmith Reddy here for allegedly forging documents to register and sell vehicles purchased as scrap from a leading automobile company.
Prabhakar Reddy is the second TDP leader to be arrested in two days. Former minister and senior leader K. Atchannaidu was taken into custody by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Friday for the scam in purchase of medicines and equipment for ESI hospitals.
A police team from Anantapur district took the former MLA from Tadipatri and his son into custody from their residence here. They were being shifted to Anantapur.
Prabhakar Reddy is the younger brother of senior leader and former MP J.C. Diwakar Reddy. His wife J.C. Uma Reddy and son J.C. Asmith Reddy own Jatadhara Industries Private Ltd.
Jatadhara and C. Gopal Reddy & Company are facing charges of forging documents to register BS-III vehicles as BS-IV vehicles and selling them. They had allegedly purchased the BS-III vehicles as scrap from Ashok Leyland.
Tadipatri police had last week booked Prabhakar Reddy and three others for allegedly forging documents and selling 18-wheeler trailer lorries.
The issue came to light when the Road Transport Authority seized the vehicles and 10 persons who had purchased the vehicles from Nageswara Reddy, fleet manager of Prabhakar Reddy, staged a protest outside the residence of the former MLA, demanding their money back.
The accused purchased the vehicles as scrap from Ashok Leyland and got them registered in Nagaland in 2018 by producing fake and fabricated documents. According to the transport department, these vehicles are now in the rolls of Andhra Pradesh and are plying in Anantapur district.
In response to a request from the transport department in January this year, Ashok Leyland provided details of 66 vehicles, mentioning that all the vehicles were sold by them as scrap to Gopal Reddy & Company (40 vehicles) and to Jatadhara Industries Private Ltd (26 vehicles).
Gopal Reddy & Co belongs to Gopal Reddy, who is a close associate of Prabhakar Reddy.
“The investigations revealed that all the vehicles were first registered before the Registering Authority, Kohima, Nagaland and then came to Anantapur district on NOC from Nagaland,” an official said.
Though they purchased the vehicles as scrap, they tried to make them fit andA road worthy on record for their unlawful gain and for plying vehicles illegally, the official said.
The Supreme Court in 2017 passed an order banning sale of vehicles that are not compliant to BS IV emission norms.
Further investigations revealed that,154 vehicles of BS III emission standards were sold as scrap to Jatadhara (50 vehicles) and Gopal reddy & Company (104 vehicles). All these were registered as BS IV vehicles in various parts of the country.
Of this, 101 vehicles are on Andhra Pradesh Rolls. The transport department blocked transactions against all the 101 vehicles in its data base and cancelled registration of 89 vehicles. As many as 28 vehicles were taken on NOC to other states. The remaining vehicles were registered in other states.
In Andhra Pradesh, out of 101 vehicles , 60 vehicles were seized while 41 vehicles yet to be traced.
Anantapur District Transport Commissioner (DTC) filed 24 criminal cases against Jatadhara and Gopal Reddy & Company. The present owners were also mentioned as accused in the respective cases.
DTC Kurnool filed three cases against the two companies.