The noose is tightening around the accused in the “Siemens case” of the AP State Skill Development Corporation which took place in the previous TDP government, with the CID arresting the couple, Vipin Kumar Sharma, chartered accountant, and his wife, Neelam Sharma. The couple was arrested in New Delhi and brought on transit warrant to Vijayawada, where the special court for SPE and ACB cases remanded them in judicial custody.
The case pertains to alleged siphoning off of funds during 2014-2019 by Siemens India Software Ltd and Digitech after getting the work order to set up centres of excellence for skill development training. In 2014-2015 , Suman Bose, MD of Siemens India Software Ltd, and Vikas Khanvilkar, MD, Design Tech, proposed that they would set up Centres of Excellence for Skill development training at a project cost of ₹3,300 crore, and added that 90% of the cost would be borne by the two companies.
The accused is alleged by the CID of purchasing shell companies with an intention to earn money easily by issuing bogus invoices in the names of three companies namely, InWeb Services Pvt. Ltd, ITSmith Solutions Pvt. Ltd., and Patrick Info Services Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, by nominating dummy directors for declaring to the Registrar of Companies. The accused allegedly received ₹8.5 crore and transmitted the received amount to the bank accounts of different companies after deducting ₹7.5 lakh as a commission for them.
The then government approved the project reportedly without any check on the veracity of their proposal or on the two companies.
The CID alleged P.V. Ramesh, the then Principal Finance Secretary, issued orders for releasing the entire fund of ₹370 crore to Design Tech, on the directions of former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, even before any work had started.
In the year 2018, GST Intelligence wing under the Central government detected that DesignTech siphoned off ₹241 crore of the ₹370 crore received from the A.P. State Skill Development Corporation. Further investigations reportedly revealed that Ghanta Subba Rao the then MD, APSSDC, and K. Lakshminarayana, the then Director of APSSDC, had played a key role in the conspiracy of siphoning off of the funds of APSSDC along with the top political executives. The two companies then converted ₹241 crore into cash by using a chain of shell companies and fake invoices.
Even though the ACB received a complaint, and criminal cases were registered by the GST wing, the then State government had not initiated any action, alleged the CID. Important note files in the State Secretariat were removed and destroyed to cover the tracks of the important accused in the case. During the course of the investigation, ₹23 crore in the bank accounts of DesignTech was frozen.