Chandrababu Naidu, a former leader in Andhra Pradesh, has been arrested due to his alleged involvement in a 371 crore rupee skill development scandal. He is accused of misusing funds meant for training unemployed youth in the state. Here, we break down the key details of the case.
Chandrababu Naidu Arrest
Chandrababu Naidu was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on a Saturday for his alleged role in the 371 crore rupee skill development scandal in Andhra Pradesh. The arrest took place early in the morning at the RK Function Hall in Nandyala town.
— iTDP Official (@iTDP_Official) September 9, 2023
This scandal revolves around the formation of the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) back in 2014. Its purpose was to provide training to unemployed youth and establish connections with educational institutions, particularly those near industries like Kia in the Anantapur district.
The allegations against Chandrababu Naidu are serious. It is claimed that he orchestrated a massive scam worth 371 crore rupees, all under the guise of the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC). It’s said that he carefully planned, directed, and executed this scheme.
The Siemens Deal
During Naidu’s time as the chief minister, the state government entered into an agreement with the German company Siemens. Shockingly, it is alleged that a staggering 371 crore rupees were disbursed in just three months, even though Siemens had not contributed any funds to the project. The agreement stated that the Andhra Pradesh government was responsible for 10 percent of the total project cost, which was 3,356 crore rupees.
Transparency is a significant concern in this case. Notably, important documents were not properly signed by the principal finance secretary and the chief secretary at the time. This has raised questions about the transparency of the process. Additionally, there are reports of attempts to destroy crucial documentary evidence related to the scandal.
Enforcement Directorate’s Findings
The Enforcement Directorate’s investigation found that the Andhra Pradesh government bypassed established norms by releasing 371 crore rupees without following the proper tendering process. Furthermore, a substantial amount, 241 crore rupees, is alleged to have been diverted to various shell companies. These companies include Allied Computers, Skillers India Pvt Ltd, Knowledge Podium, Cadence Partners, and ETA Greens. Shockingly, there were no tangible benefits for skill development.
Allegations Against Chandrababu Naidu
It is alleged that Chandrababu Naidu ordered the immediate release of funds, even in the face of objections from finance department officials. Key government officials, including the Finance Principal Secretary and Chief Secretary, are implicated in facilitating the release of funds. This has made the case even more complicated.
Whistleblowers had previously reported the skill development scam to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), and similar warnings were issued in 2018. However, initial investigations into these claims were inconclusive, and there are allegations that important documents linked to the project were intentionally destroyed.
Central concerns in this case include the bypassing of established government procedures, swift approvals for fund releases, and a lack of a clear contractual basis for the use of funds.
In addition to the main allegations, some companies involved in the scandal are also accused of not paying the required taxes. Suspicion arose when GST officials identified irregular money transfers through Hawala channels dating back to 2017.
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