Vijayawada, Sep 22 (IANS): Vijayawada ACB Court on Friday granted custody of former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to the CID for two days for questioning him in skill development case.
The court directed the Crime Investigation Department (CID) to question Naidu in Rajahmundry Central Jail where he is currently lodged.
Pronouncing the orders on the CID petition, the judge directed it to conduct the questioning from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the presence of Naidu’s lawyers. The court also directed that photographs and videos of the questioning should not be released.
The CID had sought the custody of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief for five days but the court allowed the custody only for two days. The court asked the CID to submit names of the officials who will be questioning him.
The judge directed that after the end of the two-day custody, Naidu should be produced before the court through video-conference.
The ACB Court pronounced its orders after Andhra Pradesh High Court dismissed Naidu’s petition to quash the FIR registered against him and to set aside his judicial remand.
Earlier in the day, the ACB Court extended his judicial custody till September 24.
Naidu was arrested in the case by the CID in Nandyal on September 9. The next day, ACB Court in Vijayawada sent him to judicial custody for 14 days. The former chief minister was subsequently shifted to Rajahmundry Central Jail.
The Vijayawada Court had also rejected Naidu’s plea for house custody instead of judicial custody.
The case relates to the establishment of clusters of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in the state of Andhra Pradesh, with a total estimated project value of Rs 3,300 crore when Naidu was the chief minister.
The CID claimed that the alleged fraud has caused a huge loss of Rs 371 crore to the state government. The agency claimed that an advance of Rs 371 crore, representing the entire 10 per cent commitment by the government for the project, was released before any expenditure by the private entities.
According to the CID, most of the money released by the government as advance was diverted to shell companies through fake invoices, with no actual delivery or sale of the items mentioned in the invoices, CID officials said.
The CID mentioned in its remand report that the total amount spent by private entities on six skill development clusters is sourced exclusively from funds advanced by the state government and the Andhra Pradesh Skill Development Centre, totalling Rs 371 crore.