‘Z-plus security, NSG protected’: TDP spokesperson claims former CM Chandrababu Naidu arrested illegally
Naidu was arrested in a multi-crore Andhra Pradesh's State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) scam. Several TDP leaders were also placed under house arrest.
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) spokesman Kommareddy Pattabhiram, hours after the arrest of party president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, said on Saturday that the Andhra Pradesh police and the Crime Investigation Department (CID) had begun the process of illegally arresting Naidu.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Pattabhiram said, “From yesterday night the Andhra Pradesh police & CID started the process of illegally arresting Chandrababu Naidu. Hundreds of policemen gathered outside the campsite of Chandrababu Naidu.”
Naidu was arrested in a multi-crore Andhra Pradesh's State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) scam. Several TDP leaders were also placed under house arrest following the arrest of Naidu.
Pattabhiram claimed that in the initial FIR, Naidu had not been named. Defending Naidu, he said that the former CM was responsible for intalling highest number of skill development centres in the country. “In a case where there is no evidence, how can arrests be made?”
He added that Naidu was protected by Z-plus security, the highest security category in India, and the National Security Guard (NSG), the counter terrorism fource.
He said, “Even after knowing that, hundreds of policemen illegally detained all the leaders who were staying at the campsite with Chandrababu Naidu.”
Pattabhiram said that NSG officials tried to stop the police stating that it wasn't the correct procedure to arrest an NSG-protected individual at 5:30 am on Saturday.
A huge police contingent led by Nandyal range DIG Raghurami Reddy and the CID arrived at RK Function Hall where Naidu was resting in his caravan. TDP supporters tried to resist the police as they gathered in large numbers. Even SPG forces guarding the former CM initially prevented access to Naidu.
When Naidu questioned the police asking them on what basis was he being arrested, Pattabhiram claimed that the police had no answer.
“Isn't it the right of a person to know on what grounds is he being arrested? Are we living in a democracy or are we living in a draconian state?”
After his arrest, Naidu was being transported to Vijayawada. He was arrested on non-bailable charges under Sections 120(8), 166, 167, 418, 420, 465, 468, 471, 409, 201, 109 r/w 34 & 37 IPC and other sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Pattabhiram also said that for the past two years, the skill development case “drama” had been going on and claimed that Naidu's arrest came ahead of the elections. He said, “They have carried out this arrest just to brand Chandrababu Naidu as some kind of a corrupt politician.”
TDP attacks chief minitster YS Jagan Mohan Reddy
Attacking Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Pattabhiram said, “People know that it is Jagan Mohan Reddy who is the most corrupt politician in the entire country. For the last 40 years, no corruptiong charges have ever been proved against Chandrababu Naidu because he is such a sincere politician.”
He further added that Reddy faced 11 CBI chargesheetsand six ED chargesheets of corruption. “It is Jagan Reddy who has been in jail for 16 months and even now, he is living on bail. He is not free.”
Stating that Reddy was the wealthiest chief minister in the country, Pattabhiram said, “A person who has an income of ₹9,00,204 has become the richest chief minister in 2019. How is it possible? It is because of his corrupt practices.”
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is the wealthiest chief minister of the country with a total of ₹510 crore assets, according to poll affidavits analysed by the Association for Democratic Reforms.
TDP members stage protests across Andhra Pradesh
Naidu's son Nara Lokesh staged a protest in Andhra Pradesh along with other party members who could be heard shouting slogans — “We want justice”.
TDP leaders and activists also staged protests in Annapurna Sarukulu centre in Tirupati against Naidu's arrest.
Buses from Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh have been stopped at the border in light of the ongoing ruckus in the state.
What is AP State Skill Development Corporation scam?
In March, the Crime Investigation Department of the Andhra Pradesh police initiated a probe into an alleged scam worth ₹3,300 crore in the APSSDC during the previous TDP regime. The investigation followed notices issued to Arja Srikanth, a former Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer who was the CEO of APSSDC in 2016, based on statements from an accused turned approver and depositions by three IAS officers. In 2016, during the tenure of the TDP government, the APSSDC was established with the aim of empowering unemployed youth by providing skill training to enhance their employability.