The allegations of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP GVL Narasimha Rao against the Andhra Pradesh government based on a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report suggesting a huge scam to the tune of Rs 53,000 crores poses a serious threat to Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, who is already battling corruption allegations. The CAG reported that the State government diverted the sum into 58,000 Public Deposit Accounts. The CAG reports, however, are generally accessed by public representatives and media. But, the CAG did not even release the report in a press conference.
State governments opening a few PD accounts is not new. But, it happens to be that only in Andhra Pradesh, there are 80,000 PD accounts, while the rest of the States possess only a few hundreds of them. Why do those accounts carry such huge sums of money? The PD accounts are generally used in emergency situations. But, why is it that thousands of accounts carry Rs 26,000 crores at the end of the financial year? And why is it that the money has not been transferred to the public exchequer? Why did the government allot funds by using self cheques? Why did the government not reply to CAG questions? These were the questions raised by GVL Narasimha Rao, who also predicted that Chandrababu will follow the footsteps of former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav. Lalu is currently serving his jail sentence for his involvement in Fodder case.
In a remarkable development, neither Chandrababu nor Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu reacted to the CAG observations, but AP Planning Board Vice-chairman Kutumba Rao showed up for a press conference, only to raise counter allegations against the BJP. Kutumba Rao did not answer to a single question raised by GVL.
"I will resign immediately after these allegations are proved. I am ready for a debate on the issue," Kutumba Rao said. But, it would be the entire State government that has to step down if the allegations are proved.
As the elections draw near, this scandal could turn out to be a major cause of concern for the Chandrababu Naidu government.
As Chandrababu's name is being drawn into illegal spending and unethical politics just before elections, the PD accounts scam comes as a wake up call, given Chandrababu's vicious attempt to win the Nandyal bye-election by silently depositing Rs 4,000 into the accounts of Development Of Women And Children In Rural Areas (DWCRA) women. Certain experts are raising doubts over Chandrababu's plan to spend the money in the PD accounts in the upcoming elections.
Meanwhile, the BJP needs to take the mysterious transfer of funds to the PD accounts, to a logical conclusion, to ensure that the government acts in the spirit of democracy.