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Govt shielding culprits: Naidu

Written by: Staff
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Hyderabad, Mar 6 (UNI) Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu today alleged Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was trying to shield senior officials in the over Rs 400 crore ''fraud'' in the award of contract for the Rs 1,757.18 crore Sripadasagar Project.

Leading a protest by his party MLAs before the Assembly, Mr Naidu said the amount involved was much more than the sensational Bofors scam.

Taking strong objection to the Speaker suspending MLAs of major Opposition parties for raising the issue, he maintained the Speaker should have called for the relevant files.

''The Opposition had every right to know the truth and put it before the people,'' he added.

Mr Naidu claimed the government was refusing to submit the files before the Speaker, fearing it would get ''exposed.'' Alleging the ruling Congress was trying to destroy the files to protect the ''culprits,'' he said since all information was put on the internet under the e-procurement system, it would not be possible to shield them.

Narrating chronology of contract finalisation, he claimed that originally, the project cost was estimated at Rs 936 crore to irrigate 1.36 lakh acre.

The cost was subsequently upped to Rs 1,344 crore for irrigating two lakh acre. The internal benchmark was revised to Rs 1,757.18 crore overnight in collusion with the contractor concerned, he alleged.

UNI SM GM PK BD1656

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