Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into the alleged “massive corruption” in power purchase deals signed by the previous government, PTI reported.
Reddy’s decision to initiate legal action against former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu came two days after he ordered the demolition of Praja Vedika, a conference hall adjacent to Naidu’s house, at Undavalli near Amaravati.
“Who purchased power at high prices and who decided to do so,” Jagan reportedly asked at a high-level review meeting on the power sector. “Will people’s money be looted in such brazen manner? Conduct an inquiry and take legal action against all those involved, including the then chief minister and the then energy minister.”
“We have identified as many as 30 agreements signed with various companies by the previous government involving massive corruption,” Jagan added. He announced that a Cabinet sub-committee would be set up to investigate various scandals. The committee will be assisted by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Crime Investigation Department and Vigilance and Enforcement, according to IANS.
He also pointed out that the government suffered a loss of Rs 2,636 crore in the last three years on the purchase of solar and wind power. “The power sector in the state is in a totally sinking stage because of the massive corruption in power purchase agreements and steep escalation of costs in setting up new generating stations,” Reddy said. “The sector is steeped in deep losses because of this.”
He claimed that instead of buying power as per the merit order, the Telugu Desam Party government had altered rules indiscriminately and purchased on a must-run condition at higher prices from solar and wind power producers. Between 2015 and 2018, wind power was bought at Rs 4.83 to 4.84 a unit and solar power at Rs 4.5 to Rs 6.8 per unit, he said.
The chief minister questioned the need for buying it at higher prices from solar and wind power producers when the government power generating stations offered electricity at Rs 3.25 per unit. A committee would be constituted to re-negotiate the power purchase agreement and will get the rates reduced. If necessary, the previous agreements will be cancelled, he said.
After taking oath as the chief minister on May 30, Reddy had spoken about the cancellation of agreements with solar and wind power producers. On June 6, the Centre had written to his government urging it not to consider reopening of power purchase agreements of renewable energy projects set up in the state as it would affect the investor sentiment in the country’s renewable energy sector.