Allegations against Former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu was arrested in a multi-crore AP State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) scam in the early hours of Saturday. Several TDP leaders have also been placed under house arrest following the arrest of Chandrababu Naidu.
Who is Chandra Babu Naidu?
Chandrababu Naidu is a prominent politician in Andhra Pradesh, India. He served as Chief Minister of the state twice, from 1995 to 2004 and from 2014 to 2019. He’s known for modernizing the state, especially in information technology and governance. After losing in 2019, he’s been active in state politics as the Leader of the Opposition.
Chandrababu Naidu Arrested on the basis of
Naidu has been arrested under relevant IPC sections, including Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), and 465 (forgery). In addition, AP CID has also invoked the Prevention of Corruption Act against him.
The ₹ 371-Crore scam that led to Chandrababu Naidu’s arrest
The APSSDC was established in 2016 during the TDP government in Andhra Pradesh. The program focused on the empowerment of unemployed youth by providing skill training. The AP CID started an investigation into an alleged scam worth ₹3,300 crore in March which revealed that the project was initiated without following a proper tendering process, The task of developing six centres of excellence for skill development was given to Siemens Industry Software India when the project was launched. Siemens Industry Software India allegedly failed to invest any of its own resources in the project. Instead, a substantial portion of the ₹371 crore allocated by the state was diverted to various shell companies.
What are Shell companies?
A shell company is like an empty shell of a business. It exists on paper but doesn’t really do much real business. People or companies might create shell companies for various reasons, like protecting assets, keeping things private, or sometimes even for illegal activities like hiding money or evading taxes. So, it’s like having a company name and paperwork, but not much else going on inside.
Siemens’ Internal Inquiry
Siemens Global Corporate Office initiated an internal inquiry into the project and discovered that the project manager had misappropriated the government-allocated funds. The funds were moved to shell companies through hawala transactions, which are illegal money transfer methods. As a result of this discovery, the project manager was dismissed.
The suspected wrongdoing in this case revolves around diverting government funds allocated for the APSSDC project into shell companies and fake invoices, rather than using them for the intended purpose of skill development and employment programs. Hence, the investigation is still going on.