A firm owned by a legislator of the ruling YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday filed a complaint with the AP State FiberNet Limited (APSFL) alleging that there was 'partiality' and 'favouritism' in awarding tenders for the AP Fibernet project, which intended to provide high-speed internet to households across the state.
According to reports, Pace power Systems, owned by YSRCP MLA Maddisetty Venugopal Rao, said that it had filed tenders in 2017 but Terra Software Limited was favoured, as the owners of the firm were allegedly close to senior leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government.
Already, a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is underway on the request of the state government, after a South Korean company, Dasan Network, wrote to the APSFL on June 14.
The company alleged that the conditions laid down for the tender were manipulated to ensure that only certain firms were favoured to bag the project, though they were not necessarily the lowest bidder.
Earlier this month, Andhra Pradesh Information and Public Relations Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) said that a cabinet sub-committee, which had conducted an inquiry into various schemes implemented by the previous TDP government led by Chandrababu Naidu, found irregularities to the tune of Rs 850 crore.
This included alleged corruption amounting to nearly Rs 200 crore that took place in the AP Fibernet project.
"In the primary investigation, it was found that a large number of irregularities, including nepotism, have taken place in the AP Fibernet Project. The project was allotted to people who are not qualified for carrying out the project, and nearly Rs 200 core of corruption has taken place in the project," a statement from I&PR minister Perni Nani said.
"Even during the distribution of set top boxes, four companies were called and the government agreed to share the contract, but in reality only Tera Software was given the entire distribution of work," Perni Nani's statement alleged.
The scheme was launched by President Ram Nath Kovind in 2017.
Note: A statement was previously attributed incorrectly to the Chief Minister's office, and has now been updated to reflect the statement to be from I&PR Minister Perni Nani.
The report had also mentioned the name of an industrialist as mentioned by the minister. TNM has removed te reference, as the industrialist does not own Tera Software. We regret the inadvertent error.