Former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and national president of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), N Chandrababu Naidu, was arrested by Andhra Pradesh police in Nandyal in the early hours of Saturday in connection with a corruption case in skill development programmes. 

Naidu was later shifted to Special Investigation Team (SIT) office in Vijayawada and is likely to be produced in an ACB court later in the day. Naidu was taken into custody at RK Function Hall in town by sleuths of AP police and CID after a long resistance by the TDP activists.

As per a warrant served by the police to the TDP leaders, he has been booked under various actions of Criminal Procedure Code including Sections 120(8), 166, 167, 418, 420, 465, 468, 471, 409, 201, 109 rw 34 & 37 IPC and other sections of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. “This case revolves around the establishment of clusters of Centers of Excellence (CoEs) in the state of Andhra Pradesh, with a total estimated project value of ₹3300 crore,” the State CID said in a release on Saturday.

The alleged fraud has caused huge loss to the Government of Andhra Pradesh in excess of 300 crore, it added.

Citing an investigation, CID said before any expenditure by private entities, the GoAP/APSSDC provided an advance of Rs. 371 Crores, representing the entire 10 per cent commitment by the government. “Most of the money advanced by the government was diverted to shell companies through fake invoices, with no actual delivery or sale of the items mentioned in the invoices,” the release said. The investigation was focusing on locating the ‘misappropriated’ funds, making custodial interrogation of  Naidu ‘necessary’, it added.

The arrest triggered protests by TDP leaders and activists across the state and some other party leaders and activists were taken into custody.