Even as critics and supporters of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu debate the pros and cons of his arrest and its political impact, NDTV’s Uma Sudhir spoke exclusively to Andhra Pradesh CID chief N Sanjay to ask him how they concluded that the former chief minister is the ultimate beneficiary of the alleged AP skill development scam, and what they are doing about it a key file that has disappeared.
The investigating agency chief denied acting on the diktat of Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, but suggested that a former finance secretary who contradicted the CID’s claims must have done so under pressure. The CID chief listed other cases they are investigating against Mr. Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh.
In an unusual move, Mr. Sanjay and Additional Solicitor General P Sudhakar came to Hyderabad to interact with the media and explain the details of Mr. Naidu’s involvement in the alleged AP Skill Development Corporation scam and why he had to be stopped.
When asked how the scam was linked to Mr Naidu becoming the ultimate beneficiary, the CID chief told NDTV that a key aide of Mr Naidu, P Srinivas, who had worked as his aide staff for years, had disappeared.
“Srinivas was investigated by the IT department and as you know, Mr. Naidu recently received IT notices for alleged unaccounted income of over Rs 100 crore. This person has absconded. He was linked to two others persons involved in generating fake invoices who have been questioned by ED and IT. This shows that the proceeds of crime of Rs 241 crore clearly point the finger at the ultimate beneficiary. This is a gap in our investigation,” the chief said of the CID.
The Income Tax department allegedly searched Mr. Srinivas’s home and found receipts and transactions dating back to his superior, namely Mr. Naidu, Mr. Sanjay said.
He denied accusations against him that he was working on the orders of the ruling party and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.
“Investigations began in 2018 when GST found irregularities. When accused and people from shell companies tried to avail GST benefits out of greed and jostling with each other to avail GST. We have booked the FIR in 2021. of the manner in which the “Money was withdrawn from the system was arbitrary and this requires high level pressure and involvement at the highest level. High-ranking officers took notes. We are working with ED and IT on this,” he said.
Asked whether the Enforcement Directorate which arrested several people had not named Mr. Naidu as a suspect or questioned him, Mr. Sanjay said: “We link this to Mr. Naidu in because of how the company came into existence with an ulterior motive. Appointing outsiders to head a government agency, assigning four positions to one man, and siphoning off money in a timely manner even before execution and before any compliance or third-party assessment. »
Asked if the CID had issued a lookout notice for Mr. Srinivas, which the CID said would be key evidence in the case, Mr. Sanjay said they were in progress.
“Mr. Srinivas was summoned before us. But he fled to the United States. Another key witness, Manoj, also fled to the Middle East, which shows the pressure on the high-level person involved,” he said.
While denying that he was working under any political pressure, Mr. Sanjay said that PV Ramesh, former finance secretary, who had questioned the CID’s action in arresting Mr. Naidu, might be acting under some pressure .
Mr. Ramesh, whose statement to the CID was cited as the reason for arresting Mr. Naidu, had told NDTV that his statement was misunderstood or distorted by the CID. “The officers should be questioned to determine responsibility. How can the chief minister be held responsible for this?” he asked.
Mr. Ramesh had said that a key APSSDC file had gone missing and all claims were based on semi-official records in a parallel file kept at the Finance Ministry. So when was the file reported as missing?
“Through the CID scanner for the last 18 months, whatever we tried to trace the case. It could have gone missing in an earlier era as the case started in 2018 itself,” Mr Sanjay said.
The Andhra Pradesh Criminal Investigation Department and the ruling YSRCP in the state have every intention of keeping former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu busy in his legal battles.
AP ADGP CID N Sanjay told NDTV that apart from the AP Skill Development case, the CID was also investigating the Amaravati Capital Inner Ring Road case, in which they allege that changes were made in the plan to benefit the relatives of Mr. Naidu and his former cabinet colleague, Narayana and others.
In another case of AP Fibrenet Corporation in which they allege that Naidu’s son Lokesh is involved and guilt would be established.
A YSRCP leader claimed that even on Sunday, while they were awaiting Mr. Naidu’s remand verdict, the Punganuru police were waiting to take Mr. Naidu into custody, in case the judge did not grant the remand Mr. Naidu’s interim decision. Cases were filed last month against Mr. Naidu for allegedly instigating his cadres to indulge in violence against YSRCP activists.