In a press conference on July 24, 2017, Congress MP Jairam Ramesh accused former Information & Broadcasting Minister and Vice Presidential Candidate Venkaiah Naidu of BJP of corruption.
Ramesh asked Naidu four questions, demanding clarification.
- How did the Telangana government pass a secret order allowing a private trust, Swarna Bharat Trust, of which Naidu’s daughter is the Chairman to not pay Rs 2 crore of development charges to the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority in June 2017?
- How did the Telangana Government, without a tender, place an order of about Rs 270 crore for the purchase of vehicles for the Telengana Police with two dealers – one of which is Harsha Toyota, which is owned by Naidu’s son?
- On April 6, 2011, the Supreme Court passed severe stricture and cancelled the allotment of 20 acres of prime land in Bhopal by the state government to Kushabhau Thakre Memorial Trust of which Naidu is the Chairman.
- In 2002, Naidu returned to the District Authorities in Nellore about 5 acres of land which he had in his possession which was originally earmarked for landless and poor families.
In response, Naidu refuted the charges that evening, calling them “false” and “politically motivated”. Naidu said the allegation indicates a sense of “hopelessness and political bankruptcy” in the Congress Party.
These were Naidu’s clarifications:
- Naidu said the Telangana Government had already made clarification on the Swarna Bharat Trust and had stated that it was not the first and the last to get exemption from paying development charges.
“In fact, the Telangana Government gave details of several other organizations that have been given such exemption including exemptions granted by the Congress Governments in the state,” Naidu said. “Telangana Government also clarified that Swarna Bharat Trust is a non-profit organization established in the year 2001 and its buildings are for Skill Development, Training and Provision of health care for the needy. It said that this Trust was given exemption with a view to encourage it in doing social service.”
- Naidu said Harsha Toyota never directly dealt with the state government in the procurement of vehicles. “The parent company ie Toyota, offered to supply vehicles as desired by the state government at DGS&D rates and the supply order was placed on parent company i.e. Toyota Kirloskar and payment was also made to them. As a matter of policy, DGS&D concludes the rate contract with manufacturers,” he said.
- Regarding the allotment of land by the Madhya Pradesh government, Naidu said, “In my capacity as the BJP national president, I was the ex-officio chairman of this Trust and had no role in the allotment of land. Isn’t it a fact that several trusts were similarly allotted land by various governments including the Congress governments?”
- Naidu said the Nellore land issue was also raised in 2002 but was dismissed by the court. Naidu said he had no role in the allotment of land.