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Congress, TDP fight over Raju

india Updated: Feb 12, 2009 04:29 IST
Ashok Das
Ashok Das
Hindustan Times
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The architect of Satyam computers fraud, B Ramalinga Raju must be enjoying the goings on in Assembly, now that he has access to a TV as a Special Class prisoner.

For,during the two-day long Assembly debate on Satyam issue, there was hardly any discussion on his crimes or the consequences of his actions on hundreds of unsuspecting stakeholders, employees and the government or even the punishment he deserved.

While he remained cocooned in the comforts on his special cell, far away from the reach of several federal agencies running from pillar to post to question him, the two main political parties, Congress and TDP, jostled to prove who has either helped him and benefited maximum from him.

If it was former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu`s turn on Monday to accuse that fourteen companies belonging to Chief Minister`s family were used by Ramalinga Raju to launder money to the tune of Rs 600 crores and the same money was used to fund a newspaper and TV channel by CM`s son, Tuesday was pay back time.

Hitting back at his predecessor, Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy said the rot in Satyam was noticed as early as 2002 when Naidu was Chief Minister and the matter was hushed up.

Reddy charged that the Income Tax Department had detected fraud in Satyam in 2002 and found several benami bank accounts. The then Income Tax officer, Ms S Padmaja, recommended an inquiry into the matter by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.

“But, the then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu using his clout at Centre poured cold water on the case and shielded the culprits. The Income Tax officer, Ms Padmaja, too was transferred from Hyderabad.” Dr Reddy said.

Going a step further, Reddy alleged that a Satyam-type fraud was committed in Heritage Foods, a company owned by Naidu`s family. “ Heritage Foods, in which Naidu’s family members owned 33 per cent share , floated another company by name Heritage Infra. Heritage Foods sold a land measuring a little below 3 acres (market value estimated between Rs 60 and Rs 70 crore) to Heritage Infra for just Rs 3 crore,” he charged and wanted to know whether this was not a fraud and harming the interests of the share-holders of the company.

Meanwhile, Praja Rajyam Party leader and actor Chiranjeevi charged that neither the Treasury nor the Opposition benches were interested in bringing the truth to light in the Satyam fraud case. “They were not touching the main issues in the multi-crore fraud in Satyam but are hurling abuses at each other, deviating from the matter,” he alleged.

He announced that all the irregularities and corruption charges against both the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party leaders will be thoroughly investigated when the PRP comes to power in the State.