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Satyam shadow on VIP kids

india Updated: Feb 10, 2009 00:26 IST
Ashok Das

The Satyam scam, which has placed question marks over the roles of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy and his predecessor Chandrababu Naidu, is now threatening to taint their sons as well.

Initiating the debate over the Satyam scandal in the Andhra Pradesh assembly, Naidu on Monday alleged that the jailed ex-chairman of Satyam Computer Services had financed the business of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Chief Minister’s son.

The Treasury Benches hit back immediately, alleging that Raju had given large sums of money to the NTR Trust and had also spent over $1 million (Rs 4.8 crore at current exchange rates) on the education of Naidu’s son, Nara Lokesh, in the US.

Naidu alleged a “nexus” between the government and Satyam, and claimed that the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) inquiry ordered by the government was trying to cover up this nexus and shield the guilty.

“Fourteen companies run by the Chief Minister’s family were used by Raju to launder money,” he said. These companies allegedly received Rs 600 crore from various sources and the same money was used to publish the Telugu daily, Sakshi, and launch a television channel, which is yet to start operations.

Naidu also blamed Jaganmohan Reddy, a businessman, of violating foreign direct investment rules, Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) norms, Registrar of Companies guidelines and the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act.

He said the Sebi had to approach the Supreme Court to interrogate Raju and the other accused. He also referred to the statement of former Sebi chairman D. Damodaran that Raju was under the “protective custody” of the state.

The discussions will continue on Tuesday, when the Chief Minister will reply to these allegations.

Meanwhile, the ruling Congress hit back, alleging that Naidu had received money from Raju during his tenure as chief minister. Government chief whip N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said it was during Naidu’s rule that Raju received state patronage.

Naidu stoutly denied that Raju had sponsored his son’s education in the US. “If my son has committed anything wrong, put him in jail,” he said, adding that even ordinary people were sending their children to the US for higher studies. “I will not return to the Assembly if I cannot prove the corruption charges against the chief minister and his son,” he thundered.