Interview| Last time Jagan’s father YSR left out Chandrababu, this time he can’t escape corruption noose: Sajjala

In an interview with NewsMeter, Sajjala blamed Naidu for playing the sympathy card and questioned why he has not replied to IT notices.

By Bhaskar Basava  Published on  9 Sep 2023 6:30 AM GMT
TDP Naidu, TDP, Sajjala Ramakrishna, YSRCP, Chandrababu

Hyderabad: Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, YSRCP general secretary and advisor to the Andhra Pradesh government for public affairs, questioned former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu over his undisclosed income of Rs. 118 crore, which he allegedly received as kickbacks from companies for awarding infrastructure projects. IT recently issued notices to Naidu after detecting fraud.

In an interview with NewsMeter, Sajjala blamed Naidu for playing the sympathy card and questioned why he has not replied to IT notices. Excerpts:

Q. Why are the Income Tax Department notices to former CM Chandrababu Naidu taken seriously?

A. Amaravati scams have caused a huge loss to the AP exchequer. The state and central government agencies are investigating the quid pro case, and there are common leads that point to Chandrababu Naidu. Manoj Vasudev Pardasany who met Chandrababu Naidu while he was the CM represented Shapoorji Pallonji, a construction firm. The entire manpower was mobilized and bribes were handed over to people who in turn funneled money into his bogus companies. Chandrababu's PA Srinivas told Manoj to hand over the cash. Everything is on record. All of Chandrababu’s actions are illegal and attract anti-corruption law, money laundering law, or RPA Act.

Q. Chandrababu Naidu has alleged YSRCP was behind IT notices and the ruling party was desperately trying to frame him in corruption charges. What do you have to say?

A. Overnight, this has not happened. It is the central government agencies who started the investigation. Chandrababu Naidu is trying to get sympathy by claiming that the allegations against him are politically motivated. However, he has not cleared the air on the allegations. Instead, he is taking an escape route. The notice itself is self-evident that it is not just a political allegation. There are facts, statements money trail. It identifies his role. It also gives a total picture of how he assigned jobs to collect bribes.

Q. Naidu asserted that Jagan's father, Rajasekhar Reddy, was also unable to achieve anything, and he is confident of getting a clean chit again. What does YSRCP have to say on this?

A. Just like in the past, he is trying to gamble again. He is anticipating arrest from the central agencies. He is desperately trying to divert the attention from the real issue by calling it a political witch hunt. But I can tell you, this time, he cannot escape. Earlier, YSR left him out of generosity, leaving the public to decide his fate. The public voted against him in 2004 and 2009. Also, it is important to remind him that he did not get a clean chit in all the cases. The cases against him are not completely closed.

Q. There is a lot of criticism from the opposition on reverse tendering. Why have all the projects called for reverse tendering ever since the YSRCP came to power?

A. We have taken the policy of reverse tendering to correct the wrongs made by the TDP government. By doing this, we have saved public money that was unduly benefited by the tenders in the TDP government. This is not just about misusing the power, but also about the huge losses that the state government incurred. For example, we saved ₹235 crore for the TIDCO houses by calling the reverse tendering process. The previous government also caused huge losses to the poor. They arranged 2,60,000 houses for the poor through bank loans for 20 years. This is not only corruption but also inhuman because they did not even spare the poor for their agenda.

Q. Chandrababu has been critical of the YSRCP's ability to construct the new capital. He has said that the state has no capital and that it is a shame for the government. Your response?

A. Chandrababu is the reason why the three capitals could not be completed. He did not create even the basic facilities. We are now creating infrastructure and laying four-lane roads. We have started from scratch. Also, Amaravati's construction was aimed to benefit Naidu and his aides. He did not have any idea of developing Amaravati. He constructed temporary buildings in Amaravati, which is also part of his scams as he is alleged to have received kickbacks.

Q. TDP is campaigning about inflation and the lack of jobs in the state. Isn't YSRCP losing ground on these issues?

A. Despite COVID-19, we have continued our welfare schemes and delivered on our promises. We are visibly making progress. Inflation is a problem all over India, not just in AP. However, our government has introduced reforms such as DBT, which transfers financial aid directly to the poor, without corruption and transparency. We have deposited Rs 3 lakh crore to the poor directly so far. I believe Andhra Pradesh is the first state in India to implement transparent welfare schemes. The village landscapes have changed and families have become self-reliant. Each family is receiving benefits from at least two schemes. It works out to between Rs 1.5-2 lakh. Since independence, Andhra Pradesh has only had 4-5 ports. However, in the last 4 years, we have added 4 more ports and expanded our coastline. Why didn't the previous government think of this? Also, the employment rate has increased by 40% in comparison to the TDP tenure.

Q. When will YSRCP announce its candidates list or manifesto for the upcoming elections? What do you think the party's priorities will be in Jagan 2.0?

A. We have delivered 99% of our manifesto promises. We will continue to do so in the second term with a balanced approach between welfare and development. Many programs are currently underway. The CM will take a call on the change of candidatures based on surveys and performance. He will announce it as soon as he makes a decision.

Q. Pawan Kalyan an NDA ally has recently said that he will make sure that Jagan is served the right treatment in the coming days. What do you think about this?

A. Pawan Kalyan is confused and does not have clarity. He did not say anything about CBN, even by mistake, including the recent IT notices. There is nothing serious about his statements.

Q. Many bifurcation promises are still pending, and elections are approaching. What is YSRCP planning to do?

A. Chandrababu could have achieved the promises, but he settled for the package. The issues were very alive then, and he could have asked, considering he was an ally of the central government. However, he did not. Ten years have passed, and the issues are not as alive as they were in 2014. The central government is also not interested in fulfilling the promises. However, we are pushing our state's demands for the fulfillment of the bifurcation promises on all platforms. We are continuously working towards it.

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