Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, has been apprehended in connection with corruption allegations

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, has been apprehended in connection with corruption allegations

Nandyal - Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has been detained by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in connection with the Skill Development Corporation scandal.

The CID took Naidu into custody in Nandyal, as confirmed by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

The arrest occurred at approximately 6 a.m. following a dramatic series of events late at night. CBI officials arrived at a function hall in Nandyal and presented an arrest warrant to Naidu. However, they were met with opposition from TDP supporters, preventing them from taking him into custody.

Prior to his detention, Naidu took to Twitter and expressed his commitment to serving the people of Telugu for the past 45 years. He stated his willingness to sacrifice for their welfare and emphasized that no force could deter him from serving Telugu people, Andhra Pradesh, and the nation.

Numerous cases have been filed against Naidu under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 120(b), 166, 167, 418, 420, 465, 468, 201, 109, and also under sections 34 and 37 of the IPC. Additionally, charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988 have been levied against him.

Authorities are making preparations to transfer Naidu to Vijayawada jail under NSG security.

Following Naidu's arrest, his legal counsel indicated that the CID had taken him for a medical check-up after detecting high blood pressure and diabetes. They announced their intention to approach the High Court for bail.

Meanwhile, several TDP leaders have been placed under house arrest following Naidu's detention by the Andhra Pradesh CID in connection with the Skill Development case.

The Skill Development Corporation Scandal involves an agreement signed with the TDP-led Andhra government during 2014-15. The agreement aimed to establish Centers of Excellence for Skill Development training in collaboration with two companies, Siemens India Software Ltd and Design Tech. The project was estimated to cost around Rs. 3356 crores, with Siemens and Design Tech sponsoring 90 percent of the project's cost. The Andhra Pradesh government was expected to contribute only 10 percent, amounting to Rs. 371 crores.

Nara Chandrababu Naidu is implicated as accused number one in the case and is facing allegations of corruption and misleading the cabinet regarding a scam that has shaken the state.

The allegations against Naidu and other individuals involved in the case include contract manipulation, misappropriation of public funds, and orchestrating a fraudulent scheme under the guise of the Skill Development Corporation.

Several government agencies, including GST, Intelligence, IT, ED, and SEBI, have conducted extensive investigations into the scam, successfully repatriating illicitly acquired funds hidden abroad.

This scandal surfaced just two months after Chandrababu Naidu assumed office in June 2014.

Siemens, a key player in the scandal, conducted an internal investigation and provided a statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before a Magistrate. Siemens maintained that they had no involvement in the Joint Venture (JVO) or the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) issued by the government.

Central to the case is the way a note from Skill Development, detailing the estimated cost as a Detailed Project Report (DPR), was presented to the cabinet, bypassing established government procedures. This irregularity, coupled with the rapid approval and disbursement of funds, has raised significant questions about adherence to rules and due process.

Additionally, contract and government orders appear to be at odds, with funds released without a clear contractual foundation. Allegations suggest that Naidu issued orders for immediate fund release, even when objections were raised by finance department officials.

Key government officials, including the Finance Principal Secretary and Chief Secretary, are alleged to have played a role in facilitating fund disbursement, but the whereabouts of these funds remain unknown.

It has also come to light that over 70 transactions involving these funds occurred through shell companies. A whistleblower had previously reported this Skill Development scam to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the state.

Furthermore, in June 2018, a government whistleblower issued a similar warning. Unfortunately, initial investigations into these claims were set aside.

In a concerning development, notefiles related to the project were allegedly destroyed when these investigations commenced. Complicating matters further, companies like PVSP/Skiller and DesignTech, significant players in the Skill Scam, claimed Cenvat without paying service tax. GST officials observed irregularities in the company's transactions, revealing money transfers through Hawala channels as early as 2017.

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