The former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, was granted bail by a special court in Hyderabad on Monday in connection with a case of alleged irregularities in the Skill Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (SDCAP) during his tenure. The court also imposed several conditions on his bail, including that he should not leave the country without prior permission and that he should cooperate with the investigation.
Naidu, who is the president of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), was arrested on October 28 by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Telangana after a raid at his residence in Hyderabad. He was accused of misusing his official position and causing a loss of over Rs 1,000 crore to the state exchequer by awarding contracts to his relatives and associates through the SDCAP, which was set up in 2015 to provide skill training and employment opportunities to the youth of Andhra Pradesh.
The ACB had filed a charge sheet against Naidu and 16 others, including former ministers, bureaucrats, and contractors, in the special court for Prevention of Corruption Act cases on October 29. The charge sheet alleged that Naidu had violated the norms and procedures in awarding the contracts and had received kickbacks from the contractors. It also alleged that Naidu had diverted funds from the SDCAP to his personal accounts and had used them for his political activities.
Naidu’s counsel had moved a bail application on the same day, contending that he was suffering from various health issues and that he was not involved in any wrongdoing. He had also claimed that the case was politically motivated and that he was being targeted by the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) of Andhra Pradesh, which is headed by his rival and current Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The special court had reserved its order on the bail application till Monday. After hearing the arguments of both sides, the court granted bail to Naidu on a personal bond of Rs 10 lakh and two sureties of the same amount. The court also directed him to surrender his passport and not to influence any witnesses or tamper with any evidence.
Naidu, who was lodged in Chanchalguda jail, was released on Monday evening after completing the formalities. He was welcomed by his supporters and party workers outside the jail premises. He thanked them for their solidarity and said that he would continue to fight for the rights and interests of Andhra Pradesh.
He also accused the YSRCP government of indulging in vendetta politics and trying to suppress his voice. He said that he had done nothing wrong and that he was ready to face any inquiry. He claimed that he had set up the SDCAP with the noble intention of providing skills and jobs to lakhs of youth in Andhra Pradesh and that he had followed all the rules and regulations in executing the projects.
He also alleged that the YSRCP government had failed to deliver on its promises and had pushed Andhra Pradesh into a debt trap. He said that he would expose the corruption and misgovernance of the YSRCP regime and would work for the development and welfare of Andhra Pradesh.