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Using office unabashed for personal benefit

Former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu used office unabashed to promote a personal business. The fall of the cooperative dairies saw the rise of Heritage Foods that was founded by Mr. Naidu and is controlled by his family even today. The fall of the cooperative dairies in the state were orchestrated in a phased manner for the rise of Heritage Foods, says an expert in the dairy sector. Anyone can see that the political graph Mr Naidu and the the profit graph of Heritage Foods are in sync meaning that the company made profits when Mr. Naidu was in office and losses when he was not, he said. Can there be more blatant corruption than this, he asked.
In a last ditch development majority shares in the company were sold away a day before demonetization was announced for Rs 1,200 crore. Mr Naidu could do this because as the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and a political ally of the Bhartiya Janata Party
(BJP) that was in power at the Centre he knew in advance about the impending demonetization, political observers charged.
While nobody could find fault with the sale of a loss-making firm, but the timing has raised several eyebrows in suspicion.
The demonetization had a devastating effect on retail chains which witnessed a sudden drop in customer footfall because of the severe currency crunch. The value of Heritage Foods would have plummeted drastically if the sale was delayed by just a couple of days.
When Mr. Naidu was in office the company made profits thanks to the several incentives it got. Banks were even forced to give loans exclusively to the Heritage Dairy farmers. In the height of summer Mr Naidu announced distribution of free buttermilk. It later came to
light that the free distribution of buttermilk was more for the benefit of Heritage Foods rather than alleviating the public from the plight of the heat stroke.
Tacit instructions were given to officials to buy curd from Heritage Foods only to prepare the butter milk. In one instance a district Collector publicly issued written orders to all his Tehsildhars to buy only Heritage curds. The company made Rs 39 crore from the sale of
ingredients needed to make buttermilk. Dairy sector experts recall how the once strong district dairy cooperative units in the state
faded away in a phased manner. Heritage Foods manufacturing unit was started in Chittoor district and the dairy Cooperative unit of the district was the first to close.
Heritage went for public issue in 1992 and the Mutually-Aided Cooperatives Act (MACS) was enacted in 1995 posing a major threat to the Cooperative Societies. Subsequently all the district dairy cooperatives began to shut down and Heritage rose up out of their ashes. While the officials in the state were forced to turn a blind eye to substandard products of Heritage Foods, the products of the company were banned in Kerala. Formaldehyde a carcinogenic preservative was found in the milk made in the Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, plant.
Heritage Foods was also named in the Panama leaks in a list of companies that were transferring money through several shell companies located in small island companies. Private companies were blatantly provided benefits and protection by Mr Naidu.

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