The ‘Rs 3,300-cr govt deal & skill development project’ behind Andhra ex-CM Chandrababu’s arrest

Hyderabad: At about 5:45 am Saturday, a Crime Investigation Department (CID) team knocked on the door of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) supremo Chandrababu Naidu’s caravan in Nandyala town. The 73-year-old leader was arrested by 6:30 am in connection with the alleged Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) scam and was whisked away in a convoy of vehicles to Amaravati.

On 5 September, the CID began ascertaining Naidu’s role in the alleged APSSDC scam.

Coming ahead of the next year’s Andhra election, Naidu’s arrest is seen as an escalation of the political showdown with CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

ThePrint looks at Naidu’s role in the alleged scam, the probe findings and related aspects.

What is the case about

In 2015, the TDP government and the APSSDC entered a Rs 3,300 crore deal with Siemens for executing skill development projects. The CID stated the period of offence as from January 2015 to March 2018.

Revealing the case details after Naidu’s arrest, Additional Director General, CID, N. Sanjay  said as part of the conspiracy, Naidu ordered the floating of APSSDC, by-passing the Council of Ministers and deviating from existing rules. 

Naidu maintained complete control over APSSDC by appointing Ghanta Subba Rao (invited from the private sector) as the MD & CEO, APSSDC and also as the secretary to the government department controlling the corporation, the CID chief said.

Through the then Skill Development, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minister Kinjarapu Atchannaidu, Naidu issued orders approving the establishment of six Siemens skill development centres. The estimation of the project was accepted at a hyper-inflated rate of Rs 3,300 crore, according to the CID statement.

Also Read: Bhagavad Gita copies, VIP darshan — how Tirupati board plans to promote Sanatana Dharma among youth 

What is Naidu accused of

The CID says Naidu and Kinjarapu created a facade through a government order (issued 30 June 2015), as if the technology partners — Siemens and Designtech — would contribute 90 percent of the project cost, as grant-in-aid and that the government would contribute the rest.

Contrary to the order, Naidu and Kinjarapu simultaneously approved an MoU stating that the government was giving a grant of Rs 371 crore to Siemens & DesignTech for setting up the skill development centres. The MoU wording was manipulated to reflect as if the APSSDC was providing the sum towards a work order for setting up the centres and that there was no obligation on the technology partners to contribute anything towards the project, the CID said.

In March, CM Jagan Mohan Reddy stated the grant-in-aid never came from Siemens, and adds the TDP government hurriedly paid 10 percent of the project cost, equaling Rs 371 crore (including taxes) in five tranches in three months.

The CID stated that Siemens India and DesignTech officials involved in the conspiracy with Naidu and Kinjarapu, siphoned off a large portion of the released Rs 371 crore. 

“…instead of releasing money proportionate to the ‘grant-in-aid’ provided by Siemens and Designtech, Naidu instructed officials to release all of the Rs. 371 crore in advance to Designtech, even before identifying the places where the centres would be set up,” the CID said, adding that the then chief secretary, then principal finance secretary and then special finance secretary made file notings on their objections to the advanced funds release and mentioned that the funds were being released as per Naidu’s instructions.

No performance guarantee or bank guarantee were allegedly sought from Siemens and Designtech. Investigation revealed that they did not spend even a single rupee of their own, nor did they provide any discounts on their proprietary softwares, the CID said.

What is Siemens saying

Director General, GST, Intelligence (DGGI), Pune, Income Tax (Investigation) wing, Mumbai, Enforcement Directorate and also the global head office of Siemens carried out investigations in connection with the matter.

The Andhra sleuths said that Siemens probe found that Soumyadri Shekhar alias Suman Bose, then MD of Siemens Industry Software (India), acted on his own without authorisation from the global headquarters or its legal team.

“Suman Bose and his close associates did not give complete facts to the Siemens management or Siemens Legal team regarding the agreement being made with the APSSDC. Siemens only offered an ‘in-kind’ grant (discount), but not ‘in-kind contribution’ (money). Siemens received only Rs 58.8 crore out of the Rs 371 crore paid to Designtech by APSSDC. Bose was involved with shell companies for getting improper benefits,” the CID said, quoting the Siemens legal counsel and nodal officer’s statement to a magistrate.

“Bose and Vikas Khanvelkar (Designtech MD) used a network of shell companies to issue fake invoices, without the actual delivery of goods and services and siphoned off the funds to the extent of Rs 241 crore. There were messages regarding delivery of the funds converted to cash, through hawala channels in Mumbai and Hyderabad,” it said.

The ED arrested Bose, Khanvelkar and two others in March.

How was alleged scam revealed

Suspicion first arose when GST officials found irregularities involving money transfers through hawala channels dating back to 2017. Companies like PVSP/Skiller and DesignTech, who allegedly received the share of Rs 371 crore, are accused of claiming CENVAT without paying service tax.

Though a ‘whistleblower’ alerted the Anti-Corruption Bureau in June 2018, when Naidu was in power, no action was initiated. “Moreover, certain important note files pertaining to the project were removed from the secretariat,” the CID said.

Under the YSRCP government, the CID registered an FIR in December 2021, based on the complaint of APSSDC chairman Ajay Reddy.

In December 2022, the ED served notices to 26 people, including Ghanta Subba Rao and K. Lakshminarayana (then director of APSSDC). In March, the CID served notices to Arja Srikanth, who was MD and CEO of APSSDC in 2016. G.V.S.Bhaskar, a former employee of Siemens Industrial Software, was taken into custody on 8 March.

What TDP is saying

Naidu’s arrest took place when Jagan was away in the UK, visiting his daughters.

“The ruling party is very keen on foisting some false cases against me which is highly undesirable. The police failed to show any proof of me committing a mistake,” Naidu said, after his arrest. 

TDP leaders, spokespersons stated the arrest as illegal, undemocratic. TDP Rajya Sabha MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar said that the party will “take the legal recourse to fight the false case”.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

Also Read: How KCR blunted 52-day Telangana transport strike backed by BJP 



Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Yours Headline is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment