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AP Skill Development Scam: ‘Hope justice prevails’, Zoho CEO Sridhar Vembu supports arrested TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu


AP Skill Development Corruption Case: Sridhar Vembu, CEO of Zoho Corporation has extended his support for Chandrababu Naidu who was arrested in an alleged 371 crore scam in the AP Skill Development Corporation during 2014-2019.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Vembu wrote, “I was shocked to read that Shri Chandrababu Naidu-ji was arrested yesterday. I know him and he worked so hard to bring so many companies, including Zoho, to Andhra Pradesh. I hope justice prevails.”

On 9 September, Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu was arrested by the Andhra Pradesh Criminal Investigation Department (CID). The former Andhra Pradesh CM was 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.

Earlier today i.e. on 10 September, Naidu was produced in an Anti-Corruption Bureau court amid tight security. According to news agency PTI, The former Andhra Pradesh CM will be represented by Supreme Court lawyer Siddarth Luthra and a team of advocates. Several TDP senior leaders and the party cadre gathered at the court complex.

The TDP have given a call to its supporters to take part in a one-day fast in every Assembly constituency on Sunday to protest against Naidu’s arrest.

TDP national spokesperson Prem Kumar Jain also slammed the Jagan Mohan Reddy government. While talking to news agency ANI, Jain said that the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRPC), which itself is accused of ‘looting’ 44000 crore, is alleging Chandrababu of corruption, who was not even served with an arrest warrant in the 45 years of his political career.

“The way Chandrababu was arrested amid tight security forces, is a defeat of YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy and the way protests were held across the state against his arrest, shows how popular Chandrababu is. There was not a single accusation in his 45 years of political career nor he was served with an arrest warrant. Arresting him without providing proper information shows the mentality of the YSRCP government. YSRCP itself is accused of looting 44000 cr. The government of sand mafia and land mafia is now accusing Chandrababu,” Jain told to news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, Naidu was also questioned for nearly 10 hours at the Special Investigation Team (SIT) office. The CID submitted a remand application before the court while Naidu’s lawyers sought that the plea be rejected. The CID alleged that Naidu as the primary accuse and has submitted in its remand report. It alleged that Naidu is the chief architect and conspirator of the alleged scam and that he indulged in a criminal conspiracy with the intention of fraudulent misappropriation or otherwise conversion for own use, disposal of property which was under the control of a public servant, besides engaging in cheating, forging documents, and destroying evidence.

As per the CID, the investigation has revealed serious irregularities such as before any expenditure by private entities, the then state government provided an advance of 371 crores, representing the entire 10 per cent commitment by the government.

Most of the money advanced by the government was diverted to shell companies through fake invoices, with no actual delivery or sale of the items mentioned in the invoices, CID officials said.

In its remand report, the CID has said that according to the investigation so far, the total amount spent by private entities on six skill development clusters is sourced exclusively from funds advanced by the Government of AP and AP Skill Development Center, totalling 371 crores.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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Updated: 10 Sep 2023, 02:52 PM IST

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.