Rajahmundry: Reports have come in that the ‘’Royal Vashista’’ boat owner Kodigudla Venkataramana, was known to have a criminal background at Saripalli village in Pendurthi Mandal at Visakhapatnam, from where he originally hails.
Venkataramana is said to be involved in many cases related to land mafia between 2009 and 2017. He is said to have forged documents pertaining to a 400 square plot in Survey No. 148/15 in Saripalli village, and sold the land twice. The victims filed a cheating case No. 308/2017 in Pendurthi police station and the case is pending in court.
Earlier in 2009, a case (No.238/2009) was filed against him in the same police station related to a fight .In 2013 the case was lifted after both parties arrived at a compromise.
In 2011, he was involved in illegally smoothing a Government land in survey number 267 in his village. In this issue a case bearing number, 117/2011 was filed in Pendurthi police station. In a recent case bearing number 147/2019, a bind over was filed against Venkataramana and few others, in the same police station
Venkataramana relocated to Rajahmundry in 2012 along with his family. He got into water transport business,started KVR Travels and was plying two boats including the ill fated Royal Vasishta without taking the necessary regulatory permissions.
When the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) took charge in 2014, he started moving closely to the local leaders and continued operating services. However, in the recent election campaign in 2019, he joined the Jana Sena Party founded by actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan. He is said to have actively campaigned in Rajahmundry and in his village at Visakhapatnam.
When questioned by the police about the boat after it drowned in the Godavari River, he claimed that the boat had a capacity to carry 90 persons and it was equipped with 150 life jackets. He said the two drivers, Nukaraju and Tamaraju, who perished in the mishap were trained to operate the boat. But when he was asked about the permissions to operate the boat, Venkataramana had no answer.