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Kuppam project: Chief Whip deposes before probe panel

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Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Government Chief Whip N. Kiran Kumar Reddy deposed before Justice T.H.G. Chalapathi Commission of Inquiry probing the alleged irregularities in the Kuppam project here on Saturday.

In his deposition, Mr. Reddy said that the agricultural research project at Kuppam was awarded by the previous Government to a private company which had no expertise. The company's paid up capital was only Rs. 200 but the Government paid Rs. 38 lakhs for the demonstration project and Rs. 42 lakhs for the research project.

Similarly, Rs.10.98 crores were paid as consultancy fee while the company was not made responsible for the delay in implementation of the project.

`No farmer benefited'

He said there was no proof of any farmer being benefited nor machinery purchased at huge costs was registered.

There was ambiguity regarding machinery taken on lease too though records showed that Rs.1.58 crores was paid towards lease.

He further stated before the commission that every condition was violated and Government paid excess amounts at every stage due to the Dollar-Rupee rate fluctuation. Thus the Government had failed in safeguarding public interest.

The commission has to submit its report by June 30 but the Government has not equipped with all the documents so far. The commission told the Government that it would not like to extend the deadline unnecessarily and asked it to forward relevant information.

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu did not turn up before the commission though he was asked by it to attend.

The commission was constituted following a demand in the Assembly last year to probe the alleged irregularities in the project taken up with Israel technology when Mr. Naidu was Chief Minister.

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