In recent developments, the Andhra Pradesh High Court is set to render its verdict on the petition of former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Mr. Naidu, in his petition, seeks the annulment of the FIR launched by the A.P. Crime Investigation Department (CID) pertaining to the 'skill development scam' and requests the revocation of the judicial remand issued by the ACB Court in Vijayawada.
Overview: The Skill Development Scam Case
Mr. Naidu, who is presently confined in the Rajahmundry Central Prison, awaits the decision, having been implicated as a significant participant in this controversial case.
Central Points of Contention:
One of the salient arguments brought forward by the counsel representing Mr. Naidu highlighted that the State Governor had not issued any authorization under Section 17(A) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
This, they argued, rendered any investigation into Mr. Naidu’s supposed involvement in the scam devoid of legal sanctity.
The former Solicitor General of India, Harish Salve, directed the court's attention to the fact that the project had received proper valuation.
He emphasized that the Centres of Excellence (CoE) and Technical Skill Development Institutes (TSDI) were operational.
He further presented that there was a commitment to see the project through to completion, with clearly outlined liabilities.
Arguing that the case revolved around subcontractor deliverables, Salve asserted that Mr. Naidu had no direct involvement.
He cited the Central Institute of Tool Design's evaluation of the project as evidence that the cost was deemed justifiable.
Counterpoints by the State/CID:
The State/CID representation refuted the arguments of Naidu's legal team, maintaining that there were discrepancies between the relevant G.O.s and the agreement.
They also cited a forensic audit that unveiled a fund diversion by DesignTech, amounting to over ₹200 crore.
Their case was bolstered by an Income Tax notice to Mr. Naidu that indicated potential suspicious transactions spanning multiple projects.
The Road Ahead
While the debate rages on, the focus shifts to the role of Siemens and other private entities.
Allegations suggest that Mr. Naidu went ahead with these partnerships even with the knowledge that the project costs were potentially overstated.
Simultaneously, another dimension of the case revolves around the Inner Ring Road (IRR) case, where modifications to the Amaravati Master Plan are under scrutiny.
The High Court has postponed Mr. Naidu’s bail plea related to this case until September 21.