Naidu Principal Conspirator in Skill Development Scam: Remand Report

VIJAYAWADA: The AP CID has named Telugu Desam chief N. Chandrababu Naidu the principal conspirator in the Rs 371-crore AP Skill Development scam, with Naidu and the TD named end beneficiaries of misappropriated money, according to the remand report.

It submitted, in the 28-page report, to the third additional sessions judge-cum-special judge for special and ACB cases on Sunday that although Naidu was booked as A-37 (accused no. 37), he was the chief architect and conspirator. It detailed how vendors Design Tech Systems Private Limited and Siemens Industry Software India Private Limited approached Naidu through TD leader Illeundula Ramesh to set up centres of excellence for skill development.

The AP CID sought 15-day judicial custody under Section 167 of the CrPC and it was duly granted.

The report stated Naidu was part of a conspiracy to misappropriate money from the public exchequer and orchestrated the incorporation of AP State Skill Development Corporation by bypassing the AP Cabinet and appointing handpicked people, including retired IAS officer Ghanta Subba Rao as MD and CEO and D. K. Lakshminarayana as director. A new department for skill development entrepreneurship and innovation was set up to control APSSDC, under the leadership of then-minister K. Atchannaidu.

Naidu and Atchannaidu are alleged to have misled the Cabinet by providing an estimate of Rs 3,281 crore, under which AP had to invest 10 per cent, while the rest would be borne by the firms. Following this, Rs 371 crore was released to Design Tech, in violation of norms and despite objections raised by then finance secretary K. Suneetha.

The report justified the inclusion of the charge under IPC Section 409 by saying that the accused Naidu conspired with Design Tech and Siemens and committed a criminal breach of trust by siphoning off the government money and subsequently, removing the note files of the project from the Secretariat.

Referring to witness statements and note files of relevant GOs, the remand report mentioned that Naidu, despite being a public servant during 2015-19, abused his position and obtained pecuniary advantage to Design Tech, which, in turn, parked money in other shell companies like PVSP/Skillar, ACI, Inweb and Patric Info and other firms.

The remand report said that even before any spending by the two companies for setting up six clusters, the amount was paid in advance, contravening GO No. 4, resulting in loss to public exchequer and wrongful gain to private individuals.

It said that although a part of Rs 371 crore was spent on setting up six centres of excellence clusters, the rest was routed and rerouted through shell companies to benefit Naidu and TD.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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