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Polls near,probe into Naidu project

This may put former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the hot seat just before the general elections.....

This may put former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu in the hot seat just before the general elections.

The state Government has ordered a case to be registered and an investigation by the CID into the irregularities in selecting BHC Agro (India) Private Limited as consultants for a pilot project — one of Naidu’s pet projects — at Kuppam Block in Chittor district.

The Congress Government had in September 2005 constituted a commission of inquiry headed by Justice T H B Chalapathi (retd) to look into allegations of irregularities into the project. The commission submitted its report on April 19,2007.

The report had also recorded Naidu’s deposition before the commission in November 2005.

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The state Cabinet — after sitting on the report for 22 months — decided to act on it in its last meeting before the elections on Tuesday.

The commission of inquiry looked into the charges of misappropriation in payment of consultancy charges to the company besides probing if the company had the requisite technology and capability to take up the sprinkler and drip irrigation project.

The terms of reference of inquiry also investigated if it was necessary to import the heavy-duty machinery from Israel.

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BHC,on the lines of American and Israeli experiences,was working on developing micro-irrigation systems in over 3,000 acres working with small and marginal farmers holding up to 2.5 acres land. However,there were allegations that Rs 19 crore were misappropriated by various government and BHC officials prompting the government to order an inquiry.

In Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting,it as decided to hand over the case to the CID to register a case against Boaz Raam,P Prabhakar Rao,Jacob Hadar and Ahobala Rao of BHC and government officers who,the government says,were involved in misappropriation of funds.

The Cabinet recommended initiating departmental action against IAS officer S Balasubramanyam who was earlier with Agriculture and Cooperation Department.

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The CID will also investigate why BHC Agro(India) Pvt Ltd sent the day-to-day expenditure details and wired money in dollars to Boaz Raam’s another company Subcon Products,New Jersey,USA.

The agency will also try to get information from the region director of Reserve Bank of India whether permission was obtainied to remit money in dollars to bank accounts in USA.

First published on: 25-02-2009 at 11:23:44 pm
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