Secretariat ‘bribe’: I-T begins probe on former CM Naidu

Chandrababu Naidu allegedly received Rs 145 crore through fraudulent methods from infra giants L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji

Hyderabad: The Income Tax (I-T) department has initiated a probe against former Chief Minister and Telugu Desam supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu over alleged receipt of Rs 145 crore through fraudulent methods from infra giants L&T and Shapoorji Pallonji.

The two companies were awarded various contracts, including the construction of an interim secretariat complex in Amaravati, during Naidu’s regime between 2014 and 2019.

The investigation wing of the I-T department, New Delhi, is said to have begun the probe and already established the flow of money from the two top companies to different companies, some of which were found to be bogus, under the guise of subcontracts. These companies, in turn, raised bogus invoices and withdrew cash and handed them over to Srinivas for use of “Chandrababu Naidu/Telugu Desam,” according to the I-T department.

“The corrupt practices of Chandrababu Naidu are coming out in open. He is thoroughly exposed, be it in the case of skill development projects, Amaravati land pooling, construction of interim secretariat and other infra projects. Public money of hundreds of crores of rupees was siphoned off and this is not an allegation made by YSR Congress but the Central agencies like I-T and Enforcement Directorate clearly established routing of kickbacks by Naidu,” said irrigation minister Ambati Rambabu.

The I-T department recently “centralised the case of Chandrababu Naidu consequent to search and seizure operations carried out in the case of Manoj
Vasudev Pardasanny (MVP)” and changed his jurisdiction from the ITO to Deputy Commissioner, Central Circle. The department brought the TD supremo also into the purview of the probe that exposed brazen embezzlement of public funds and use of the same in 2019 polls.

Manoj was a consultant for Shapoorji and emerged as the kingpin in carrying out the fraudulent transactions along with one P. Srinivas, who served as Personal Secretary to the former Chief Minister. Both were raided between November 2019 and February 2020, after which a thorough investigation was carried out based on the incriminating evidence collected from them. Sources said Manoj confessed to the I-T sleuths that he was asked to meet Chandrababu Naidu in mid-February 2019 at the latter’s residence.

After discussing the general progress of the works allotted to his clients, Chandrababu Naidu asked MVP to meet his PS and follow his instructions. Srinivas asked Manoj to arrange funds as elections were approaching and insisted on routing cash through subcontract mode while the company, as a policy, offered to pay in the form of party funds. As large-scale funds are stuck with the government, the company had no option but to pay as directed by Srinivas, Manoj told I-T sleuths.

The searches also revealed that funds of Rs 41.9 crore were also siphoned off from L&T and delivered to Srinivas by awarding bogus subcontract work orders to Phoenix Infra, Pour Trading Pvt Ltd and Luck Stone and Co. Shapoorji’s funds of Rs 115.4 crore were diverted through five companies – Naolin Infrastructure, Everett Infra, Annai Infra Developers, Haigreeva and Shalakha.

The activities of individuals like R.V.R. Raghu and his associates Krishna, Narayana, Aniket Baldota, Srikanth and Rajesh Kilaru also came under the lens of the I-T department concerning the routing of funds.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story