In a shocking turn of events, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, N Chandrababu Naidu, found himself in the grip of the law as he was arrested in connection with a APSSDC Scam, multi-crore scandal involving the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC). This dramatic arrest sent shockwaves across the political landscape, resulting in several TDP leaders being placed under house arrest in its wake.
Nandyal the CID SIT officials have arrested the prime accused Sri Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Former Chief Minister, of A.P., in connection with the alleged fraud in Skill Development Corporation involving approximately Rs. 550 Crores. This case revolves around the establishment of clusters of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in the state of Andhra Pradesh, with a total estimated project value of Rs. 3300 Crores. The alleged fraud has caused huge loss to the Government of Andhra Pradesh in excess of 300 crores
The investigation has revealed serious irregularities:
- Before any expenditure by private entities, the GoAP/APSSDC provided an advance of Rs. 371 Crores, representing the entire 10% commitment by the government.
- Most of the money advanced by the government was diverted to shell companies through fake invoices, with no actual delivery or sale of the items mentioned in the invoices.
- A portion of the funds was used to create the CoE clusters, a departure from the official procedure, while the rest was routed through shell companies.
- The investigation implicates prime accused Sri Nara Chandra Babu Naidu, along with the Telugu Desam Party, as beneficiaries of the misappropriated funds.
- Sri Nara Chandrababu Naidu is considered the principal conspirator behind the scheme, orchestrating the transfer of public funds to private entities via shell companies, resulting in a loss to the public exchequer and private gains.
- Sri Nara Chandrababu Naidu possesses exclusive knowledge of the transactions leading to the issuance of government orders and memoranda of understanding, making him a central figure in the investigation.
- The ultimate use of the misappropriated funds, including cash holdings with individuals like Vikas Khanvilkar, requires further examination.
- Key documents related to the case have gone missing, Sri Nara Chandrababu Naidu and other individuals being primary suspects.
- The investigation is focusing on locating the misappropriated funds, making custodial interrogation of Sri Nara Chandrababu Naidu necessary.
- The material including statements of public officials recorded U/s164 CrPC clearly points to the involvement of Mr. Chandra babu Naidu as the principal decision maker to release the money in advance.
- The charges in this case carry penalties of more than 10 years of imprisonment, and given the deep-rooted conspiracy, custodial interrogation is deemed necessary to uncover all aspects of the financial fraud.
The role of common player in this case and associated investigation more particularly the complicity of Sri. Nara Chandrababu Naidu is required to be further elicited. Hence custodial investigation is deemed necessary.
In this case the other agencies ED & GST have already investigated. Since it is deep rooted economic offence, a thorough and deep investigation is done by duly following all the criminal procedures. All the laws and subject matters are deeply examined and the relevant material will be placed before the competent court. The entire offence has occurred in the knowledge of the prime mover, conspirator and final beneficiary of defalcation money.
He is the former chief Minister of AP and his influence over the witnesses and other accused has come on to record. His arrest is compulsory because of his position and it is clearly visible that he is trying to thwart further investigation and possible tampering of evidence.
A Predawn Arrest: The arrest unfolded in the early hours of a Saturday morning, with a substantial police force, led by Nandyal Range DIG Raghurami Reddy and the Crime Investigation Department (CID), descending upon the RK Function Hall. Chandrababu Naidu was caught unaware, resting in his caravan at the time. The situation escalated as TDP supporters gathered in large numbers, fiercely resisting the police. Even the Special Protection Group (SPG) forces, entrusted with guarding the former CM, initially obstructed access to Naidu.
However, despite the tumultuous scene, around 6 am, law enforcement authorities successfully apprehended the TDP chief. Currently, he is being transported to Vijayawada to face the charges brought against him. Naidu faces non-bailable charges under Sections 120(8), 166, 167, 418, 420, 465, 468, 471, 409, 201, 109 r/w 34 & 37 IPC, and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
A Stark Prediction Fulfilled: This arrest comes shortly after Naidu himself predicted his fate during a public interaction at Rayadurgam in Anantapur district, alleging that he could even be subjected to an attack.
The APSSDC Scandal Unveiled: The genesis of this scandal can be traced back to March when the Crime Investigation Department of the Andhra Pradesh police initiated an investigation into an alleged scam worth ₹3,300 crore within the APSSDC, which transpired during the previous Telugu Desam Party regime. The probe was catalyzed by statements from an accused turned approver and testimonies from three IAS officers.
Back in 2016, during the tenure of the TDP government, the APSSDC was established with the noble objective of empowering unemployed youth through skill training to enhance their employability.
Investigation Unearths Alarming Findings: The preliminary investigation by the CID unearthed a series of alarming findings:
1. MoU Irregularities:
- The TDP government entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a project valued at ₹3,300 crore.
- This MoU involved a consortium with Siemens Industry Software India Ltd and Design Tech Systems Pvt Ltd.
- Siemens Industry Software India was entrusted with establishing six centers of excellence for skill development.
- The state government was slated to contribute around 10% of the total project cost, while Siemens and Design Tech were to provide the remaining funds as grant-in-aid.
2. Lack of Due Process:
- The project was initiated without adhering to the standard tendering process.
3. Bypassing Cabinet Approval:
- The state cabinet did not grant approval for this project.
4. Misappropriation of Funds:
- Shockingly, Siemens Industry Software India allegedly refrained from investing any of its resources in the project. Instead, it diverted a substantial portion of the ₹371 crore allocated by the state to various shell companies.
5. Shell Company Involvement:
- The funds intended for the project were channeled into shell companies, including Allied Computers, Skillers India Pvt Ltd, Knowledge Podium, Cadence Partners, and ETA Greens.
In response to these revelations, Siemens Global Corporate Office initiated an internal inquiry into the project. This inquiry uncovered that the project manager had misappropriated the government-allocated funds through shell companies, engaging in hawala transactions. Consequently, the project manager faced dismissal.
These developments have sent shockwaves through Andhra Pradesh’s political landscape, raising questions about transparency and accountability in government projects. As Chandrababu Naidu’s arrest sends ripples across the region, the investigation into the APSSDC scandal continues, promising further revelations in the days to come.
On September 9, 2023, Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas (Nani) took a significant step by addressing letters to the President, President Droupadi Murmu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Home Minister Amit Shah. In these letters, he fervently urged these high-ranking officials to take swift action regarding the arrest of TDP national president N. Chandrababu Naidu, emphasizing the paramount importance of upholding justice in the matter.
Mr. Srinivas expressed deep concern over Mr. Naidu’s arrest, deeming it not only illegal but also surrounded by circumstances that cast doubt on both its legality and fairness. This appeal for justice underscores the gravity of the situation and the need for a thorough and impartial examination of the events leading up to Naidu’s detention.
6. Chandrababu Naidu Arrested in ₹550 Crore Skill Development Corporation Fraud Case
In a parallel development on the same day, TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu faced arrest in connection with an alleged ₹550 crore fraud case involving the misappropriation of funds from the Skill Development Corporation. Andhra Pradesh CID Chief N. Sanjay shed light on the situation, implicating Naidu as a central figure in this intricate scheme.
According to Chief Sanjay, the scheme involved the transfer of public funds from the government to private entities through the use of shell companies, with Nara Chandrababu Naidu allegedly playing a pivotal role in orchestrating these transactions.
These latest developments add further complexity to the ongoing legal proceedings surrounding Naidu’s arrest, with both political and legal dimensions now coming into sharper focus.