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CPI(M) seeks `impartial' probe into role of Naidu

By Our Special Correspondent

VIJAYAWADA Dec. 13. The CPI(M) State unit, on Saturday expressed apprehensions over the conduct of an impartial enquiry into the alleged role of the Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, and his Cabinet colleagues in the liquor purchase case by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

Reacting to a city civil court's direction to the ACB to probe the allegations of excess payments made in liquor purchases, the CPI (M) State secretary, B.V. Raghavulu, alleged at a press conference here that the TDP leadership was surviving on commissions received from liquor companies which got excess payments.

The proofs of excess payments to the tune of over Rs. 500 crores had been put before the Government time and again, but no action was initiated. "After prohibition was lifted, the excise income grew from a meagre Rs. 250 crores in 1996 to a projected Rs. 3,500 crores during the current year. He stressed the need for an impartial inquiry into the issue to bring out the facts.

Asked about his party's stand on alliance with the Congress, he said the CPI(M) stand was clear in that the party would contest in the seats where it felt it could win, while it would support like-minded parties in other seats to defeat the TDP-BJP combine.

However, Mr. Raghavulu evaded direct replies when asked whether the CPI(M) would support the TRS to defeat the TDP-BJP combine. The party was, however, hopeful that there would be no alliance between the Congress and the TRS.

World Bank `conditionalities': On the other contentious issue of World Bank "conditionalities" for extending loans to the State, Mr. Raghavulu said the Government should seek public mandate in the coming elections instead of "harping" on the development plank. "Mr. Naidu should make public the Government's commitment to the World Bank on major issues like privatisation of agricultural market yards, power supply to the farm sector and privatisation of power distribution,'' Mr. Raghavulu, said.

He alleged that the World Bank was dictating terms to the Government on all core issues, which resulted in the Government's miserable failure in providing relief to farmers and other under-privileged sections. Assuring the World Bank that the subsidies being given to different sections would be phased out, the Government, at the same time, was taking measures to serve the interests of the private sector.

The CPI(M) leader also faulted the Government for seeking fresh loans from the World Bank even after dissolving the Assembly. In view of this, the party ad decided to seek the intervention of the Governor, S.S. Barnala, in stopping the Government's moves.

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