Citizens' Issues
Andhra IT land swindle: Former top bureaucrat demands probe against Prodigy Solutions

The company had collected big sums on the promise of giving people jobs. It seems that it also illegally acquired office spaces at various places, with the complicity of government officials, according to the complaint

Little known IT company Prodigy Solutions, made headlines recently for allegedly duping thousands of youth in Andhra Pradesh with the lure of jobs. Now it seems that the company had also illegally acquired land in prime locations across the state, with the help of politicians, some of them ministers in the state government, according to a complaint by former finance and power secretary EAS Sarma. He has demanded a probe by vigilance bodies into the matter.

"Public lands in Visakhapatnam have been given away by the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA), Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) and others to private parties in the name of SEZs, PPPs and so on, at prices far lower than the market value and in violation of VUDA's Master Plan and other laws and regulations,"  Mr Sarma has written in a complaint to Andhra Pradesh chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy. "In many such instances, the violators have the blessings of the state's ministers and, in some cases the chief minister himself. The Prodigy case represents only the tip of the iceberg of similar scams." Mr Sarma has demanded

Prodigy had taken up the Visakhapatnam office on lease from Kenexa Tech, a global IT company that was allotted land within APIIC's IT and ITES SEZ. APIIC is a state government undertaking and according to information available on the website, it had let out 25 acres at its SEZ to Kenexa, at Rs3,300 a square meter, for 'software development'. The lease agreement lapsed on 31 March 2011.

"I wonder whether Kenexa itself was competent to sub-let its premises to another company. APIIC should have made sure that no such sub-leases were granted. In this case, Kenexa let out the premises to a fly-by-night operator, Prodigy, about whose bona fides no one seems to know! It is also not clear as to the terms on which Kenexa had let out the premises to Prodigy and whether there is an unfair arbitrage in it at the cost of the public exchequer," Mr Sarma said.

Incidentally, Prodigy's CEO, Murali Radhakrishna, who is absconding, is said to have boasted about being close to Andhra Pradesh IT minister Ponnala Laxmaiah Garu, some of the victims say. The minister had inaugurated the company's new premises. It may be relevant to point out that Kenexa's premises were inaugurated by former chief minister late YSR Reddy.

"Why did APIIC violate the Master Plan in the first instance, despite warnings from some of us, by allotting land for this IT/ITES SEZ? Was APIIC unaware of the fact that Kenexa has sub-leased the premises to Prodigy? Since a state minister himself inaugurated Prodigy's premises, APIIC will find it difficult to deny knowledge of this altogether. APIIC is evidently a party to the public swindling by Prodigy," Mr Sarma wrote in his letter to the chief minister.

Demanding to know how much APIIC's benevolence has cost the public exchequer through the SEZ-Kenexa-Prodigy transactions, Mr Sarma has urged the government to recover the amount with penalty from the two private companies and the officers of APIIC and the IT department responsible for this.

Prodigy Solutions promised unemployed people jobs in lieu of money, and had collected between Rs50,000 and Rs1.75 lakh as security deposits from them. Soon after its premises were inaugurated in Visakhapatnam and Hyderabad, the company said that it could shut down and it asked newly-hired people to put in their papers.

The company downed its shutters only a few days ago and there has been little information about the whereabouts of company officials. Victims have been protesting outside the residence of the IT minister. It is interesting to note that among those who were duped is a retired police officer, who had leased a property to the company in Visakhapatnam.

Salary cheques the company issues to its employees recently and cheques that were hand over to the police officer towards rent payments have bounced. A case of cheating has been registered against the company's CEO Mr Radhakrishna and senior vice-president RK Kandadai, who had signed these cheques.


Ranbaxy launches generic anti-ulcer drug in UK

Ranbaxy (UK) Ltd has launched esomeprazole tablets in strengths of 20 mg and 40 mg, in the UK

Ranbaxy Laboratories today said it has launched generic esomeprazol tablets, used for treating ulcers, in the United Kingdom (UK).

Ranbaxy (UK) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, has launched esomeprazole tablets in strengths of 20 mg and 40 mg, in the UK, the company said in a statement.

Esomeprazole is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, peptic ulcer disease (PUD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD/GERD) and Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

Ranbaxy's product is the first approved generic bio-equivalent version of AstraZeneca's 'Nexium' in the UK market. According to IMS June 2011 data, esomeprazol tablets had sales of 60 million pounds in that country, the statement added.

Commenting on the development Ranbaxy Europe Regional Director Debashis Dasgupta said: "We are committed to bringing high quality, affordable medicines for the benefit of patients and healthcare systems worldwide and in Europe. The introduction of esomeprazole in the UK, is an important and significant step in this direction."

The company would offer the product through pharmacies, retail and wholesale stores with immediate effect.

In the late afternoon, Ranbaxy was trading at around Rs478.15 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 0.05% down from the previous close.


BHEL wins contract worth Rs1,395 crore from NMDC

BHEL will set up the Raw Material Handling System package for NMDC’s three million tonnes per annum steel plant at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh, on a turnkey basis

BHEL has bagged a Rs1,395-crore contract from the country's biggest miner NMDC for handling raw materials at its steel plant at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh.
BHEL will set up the Raw Material Handling System (RMHS) package for NMDC's three million tonnes per annum steel plant at Nagarnar in Chhattisgarh, on a turnkey basis, the power equipment maker said in a statement today.

The contract was signed in the presence of BHEL CMD, BP Rao, and the NMDC CMD, Rana Som.

The project includes engineering, procurement and construction of complete RMHS, from receipt of various raw materials (coal, iron ore etc) from wagon tippling to crushing. The order envisages installation of conveyor length of about 30km.

The Government has recently approved disinvestment of 5% of its stake in BHEL, which could fetch about Rs4,320 crore. It holds 67.72% in BHEL.
In 2010-11, the company recorded a turnover of Rs43,337 crore and a profit after tax of Rs6,011 crore.

In the late afternoon, BHEL was trading at around Rs1,714.05 per share on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1.32% down from the previous close.


We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.

To continue

Sign Up or Sign In


To continue

Sign Up or Sign In



The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)