Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Crime Investigation Department (CID) has booked former IAS officer Dr. K Lakshminarayana- the then Director of United- Andhra Pradesh State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) and 26 others in a misappropriation of public funds to the tune of Rs 241 Crore. It is alleged that the ex-conferred bureaucrat diverted public money to shell companies.

The Investigating agency also booked Ghanta Subba Rao- the then Special Secretary to AP government - Skill Development, Entrepreneurship Innovation Department (SDE&I). Rao also served as Ex-officio Secretary to the Chief Minister's office. The CID officials acted based on a complaint filed by K. Ajay Reddy- Chairman - APSSDC. According to the complainant, the public funds were swindled by shell companies. The accused raised fake invoices and cheated the government to the tune of Rs 241 Crore.

The crime dates back to 2014, when the TDP government in Andhra Pradesh entered into a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with SIEMENS, envisaged at imparting hi-end technology training. The company offers training programs in collaboration with various state governments.

In the same year, APSSDC deployed a team to visit the SIEMENS office in Gujarat which resulted in the setting up of one SIEMENS center of excellence, five technical skill development institutions, and six skill development centers in different clusters, at the cost of Rs 586.84 Crore. ( SIEMENS and DesignTech provided 90% of funding while state government-10 %).

How the scam came to light

The lid blew off when the tax investigation wing of GST- Intelligence Pune unearthed a financial fraud involving crores of rupees. The GST sleuths cross-examined the invoice of- DesignTech Systems private limited and Skillar Enterprises India private limited, which lead them to public funds of APSSDC- Vijayawada.

According to the MoA signed between the AP government and SIEMENS, the company DesignTech was assigned to provide training software development including various sub-modules designed for high-end software for advanced manufacturing of CAD/CAM. However, the MoA did not contemplate sub-contract.

But SIEMENS and DesignTech had sub-contracted the job to Skillar Enterprises based out of Delhi. It is pertinent to note that Skillar was 'set up' after DesignTech entered into an agreement with the AP government.

DesignTech claimed that Skillar had provided training software development including various sub-modules designed for high and software for advanced manufacturing CAD/CAM, which was supplied to APSSDC. DesignTech further claimed that royalty was paid to Skillar. However, skillar denied any such royalty paid. Contrary to the statement of DesignTech and Skillar led to the beginning of a tax investigation.

In reality, DesignTech, Skillar, and 5 other shell companies had formed a cartel and siphoned off public funds. None of them had evidence to prove during the tax probe, FIR said. Further, an independent forensic report conducted by the APSSDC concluded that there has been a misappropriation of funds between 2014 and 15. "SIEMENS and DesignTech have to oversee the functions of the clusters and their maintenance. Instead of doing so, the two swindled crores of rupees in a dubious manner" concluded the forensic report.

The investigating agency carried out raids on 10th December against properties owned by Dr. K Lakshminarayana in Hyderabad.

Others, who have been named as accused in the FIR, include Nimmagada Venkata Krishna Prasad - Officer on special duty to Rao, Pratap Kumar Kar- Chief Financial officer - APSSDC, Proprietors of Design Tech System- Pune, Skillar Enterprises India- Mumbai, and Soumyadri Shekar Bose - Managing Director Siemens Industry Software India, Vikas Vinayak Khanvelkar - MD Design Tech Systems. Mukul Agarwal - Chief Operating Officer and Saurabh Garh - MD of Skiller Enterprises India, Hirji Kanji Patel - MD and Shirish Chandrakanth Shah- Key administrator of Allied Computers International, Director of Patrik Info services, Director of IT Smith Solutions, Inweb services, Directors of Knowledge Podium, TalentEdge, Suresh Goyal - New Delhi, Manoj Kumar Jain - Delhi, Yogesh Gupta - Delhi, Sita Ram Arora- Delhi, Saurabh Gupta - Gurgaon, Vipin Sharma, Sawang Kumar Tolaram Jaju.

The CID has booked them under 166, 167, 418, 420, 465, 468, 471, 409, 201, 109 r/w 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code and section 13 (2) r/w 13 (1) and (d) of Prevention of Corruption Act.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting. You can follow Coreena on [email protected]

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