ANDHRA PRADESH

SC ruling: TDP's plans come unstuck

HYDERABAD, DEC. 6. The Supreme Court directive in the liquor case on Monday for continuing the ACB inquiry against the TDP president, N.Chandrababu Naidu, has come as a bolt from the blue to the TDP, which had been gearing up to take on the Government in the Assembly on the issue of corruption.

The case pertains to alleged irregularities in the policy of the then TDP Government of procuring liquor through the AP Beverages Corporation Limited.

Following press reports of corruption and a debate in the Assembly in March 2002, an APCC functionary lodged a complaint with the ACB on September 25, 2002. The Special Court for ACB took up the case and ordered an FIR to be registered.

The Government approached the High Court on December 22, 2003 and got it nullified. The petitioner preferred a special leave petition in the Supreme Court.

In 1998, the Vigilance and Enforcement Department had probed into the allegation that the APBCL had flouted norms and fixed a higher basic price for liquor products, that resulted in a huge loss to exchequer.

Another allegation was that there was a deviation from the tender conditions in inviting quotations. This resulted in benefit to some liquor companies that supplied their products at excess rates of up to 65 per cent.

The Vigilance report said, "There is some truth in the allegation that the corporations had maintained calculated silence on the question of not adhering to the tender conditions."

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