The law of the land is the same for all; Naidu was caught with incontrovertible evidence, says Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy.
In a vituperative attack on TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Saturday, 16 September, demanded to know where else should the TDP chief be lodged, if not in jail, after being caught with incriminating evidence in the skill development scam case.
The YSRCP chief said: “The law of the land is the same for all. Naidu was caught with incontrovertible evidence. His signature was found at 13 places in notefiles in the ₹371 crore scam.”
He further added, “The CID has nailed him with evidence. Even the ED (Enforcement Directorate), which investigated irregularities of those who operated shell companies, to whom skill development funds were transferred, had registered cases and arrested them.”
In an oblique reference to actor-poitician Pawan Kalyan, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister said that the one who had said that he entered public life to question all wrongdoings, went to Rajamahendravaram Central Prison and struck a deal with Naidu, instead of questioning him why he resorted to corruption.
“It was milakhat at mulaqat,” Jagan Mohan Reddy said.
The chief minister was reacting to Naidu’s arrest and Pawan Kalyan’s announcement of entering into an alliance with the TDP, for the first time after his return from London recently.
He spoke on the occasion of transferring ₹536.75 crore to 3.57 lakh Kapu, Balija and Ontari caste women under the state government’s “Kapu Nestaham” scheme. Each woman beneficiary gets ₹15,000 per annum as financial support.
Tearing into Chandrababu Naidu — and the media that is backing him — Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the TDP chief was leading a “band of dacoits” and the members of the gang do not raise their voice against him because they are the beneficiaries of the stash.
“All of you should ponder over into whose pockets the ₹271 crore, siphoned off from the state treasury, go?” he said.
He said he was surprised to watch the efforts of Nadiu’s comrades-in-arms to protect him, even though his entire 45-year political career was tainted by scams and political dishonesty.
The chief minister said, “Naidu is known for looting the state and back-stabbing those who gave a break to him in public life.”
He added: “His supporters are now out to protect him, and they seem to be unrestrained and undeterred though they know very well the kind of leader Naidu is.”
Speaking about the media, he said, “The media which has been supporting him, now goes into an overdrive to protect him with ‘chetta palukulu‘ (rubbish) and front-page editorials extolling his ‘virtues’.”
Jagan said that it was shocking to know that Chandrababu Naidu was responsible for creating a fake agreement to siphon off money from the state exchequer in the skill development scam.
Even Siemens, the company with which the then government had said it had signed the deal, later stressed that it had no role in it.
Naidu had forced the release of the funds to the Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) despite objections raised by officials. He also recalled the Income Tax Department recently serving a notice on him for having an undisclosed income of ₹118 crore, which he allegedly received as kickbacks from infrastructure companies.
He recalled how Naidu was caught speaking on the phone while trying to bribe a nominated MLA in the 2015 Telangana Legislative Council elections and how the Forensic Department later confirmed that it was indeed Naidu’s voice that was recorded in the audio clip released by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
Yet, Naidu and his cohorts tried to pull wool over the eyes of the 10 crore people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana then, by portraying him as a paragan of virtue.
In a reference to the Parliamentary and Assembly elections likely to be scheduled for early 2024, Jagan Mohan Reddy said that ahead lay a Kurukshetra battle between him and the forces of evil.
“I neither have the support of media nor a ‘foster’ son (implying Pawan Kalyan) to help me in the electoral battle.”
“I am relying on God for his blessings and your support. While judging me, the only measure that you should use is whether each one of you has benefited or not under my dispensation,” he said.