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CS S.P. Tucker Seeks Legal Opinion On Capital Project

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu's plan to award the Amaravati seed capital project to a Singapore-based consortium by what is called the Swiss Challenge method has first to overcome the Tucker challenge. Chief secretary S P Tucker has reportedly sought the legal advice of advocate-general Dammalapati Srinivas on the matter.

This, admin sources say, is a result of the caution adopted by senior bureaucrats in the aftermath of the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy assets cases, in which a number of IAS officers were accused of overstepping their mandate to award land and projects to private parties.

In the seed capital case, the file concerning the proposal to award the contract to Ascendas-Singbridge and Sembcorp Development Ltd, a Singapore-based consortium, has reached the chief secretary after the chief minister's signature. But the state's top bureaucrat is reportedly not inclined to process it without taking legal advice first.

“In normal course, any file should go to the chief minister through the chief secretary (CS). But in this case the file has come to the CS from the chief minister. That's why the CS has sought a legal view. He wants to strictly adhere to business rules while processing the file as he does not want to stick out his neck,” a top official told News Agencies.

“As per business rules, before signing any file, the CS has to seek the written views of the heads of all relevant departments. After that, he makes his remarks and forwards the file to CM. Now, with the file coming to him in the reverse direction, the CS feels that if he has to sign the file, it should have the views of all the departments concerned. That means the entire process will have to begin from scratch,” the source said.

A high-powered committee (AP Infrastructure Authority) headed by the chief secretary is likely to hold a meeting over the proposal on Tuesday. In fact, at first the state government had set up a ministerial panel headed by finance minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu to examine the proposals submitted by the Singapore firms. The panel okayed the proposals recently.

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