The NDA’s vice presidential candidate M Venkaiah Naidu today dubbed the allegations of irregularities against him and his family members by the Congress as “entirely false” and “politically motivated”. Naidu, until recently Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Housing and Urban Affairs, said the issues which were raised by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh have been already “responded” in the past. “It is evident that these issues have been referred to a few days before the election to the post of Vice President of India clearly reflecting on the political motives and the mischievous intentions,” Naidu said in a statement, giving a point-by-point rebuttal of the allegations. It is a “clear evidence of the sense of hopelessness and political bankruptcy” of the Congress party, he added.
On exemption from paying development charges by Swarna Bharat Trust (SBT), run by his daughter, Naidu said when this issue was raised by the media, the Telangana government in its rejoinder dated July 23, 2017 clarified that SBT was “not the first and the last” to be given such exemption. “In fact (it) gave details (of) several other organisations given such exemption including those granted such exemption by the Congress governments in the state,” he said. Naidu said the Telangana government also said that the Trust was given exemption with a view to encourage it of doing social services. He was responding to Congress leader Ramesh’s allegation that on June 20, the Telangana government issued a “secret order” exempting the SBT from paying development charges of more than Rs 2 crore to the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority.
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On the issue of land grab in Nellore district which Ramesh alleged that Naidu was forced to return later, the vice presidential nominee said the matter was raised by local Congressmen as early as 2002 and even moved the courts and the charges of land grabbing were dismissed. On supply of vehicles by two car dealers, one of them owned by his son, to the Telangana government allegedly without floating tenders, Naidu said, “I have scrupulously kept myself away from the business and other pursuits of my children.” He said Harsha Toyota, owned by his son, as a dealer “never directly dealt” with the state government in the procurement of vehicles and no supply order was placed on the firm.
Naidu said the parent company Toyota offered to supply vehicles as desired by the state government and the supply order was placed on parent company and payment was also made to them. On the issue of allotment of land by the then Madhya Pradesh government to Kushabhau Thakre Memorial Trust (KTMT) in 2004, Naidu said, “In my capacity as the BJP National President, I was the ex-officio Chairman of this Trust and had no role in the allotment of land.” “Isn’t it a fact that several trusts were similarly allotted land by various governments including the Congress governments?” he asked. Ramesh had said that the Supreme Court on April 6, 2011 quashed the allotment of 20 acres of land to KTMT of which Naidu was chairman.
He said the Supreme Court also passed strictures against the Madhya Pradesh government in allotting this land in Bhopal on September 25, 2004. Dismissing the allegations, Naidu said that he was a “product of a political party and culture” that always placed the “highest premium” on probity in public life and always lived by those standards.