Hyderabad: ED Raids TDP Rajya Sabha MP Sujana Over Bank Fraud Of Rs 5,700 Cr
On Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials raided residences and offices of former union minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP Yalamanchili Satyanarayana Chowdary, popularly known as Sujana Chowdary, for alleged financial irregularities. The raids took place in Hyderabad, and the ED has issued summons asking Chowdary to appear before it on November 27. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu claimed that BJP had ordered the Central agencies to target TDP party as reported by The New Indian Express.
Chowdary was a former Minister of Science and Technology in the Narendra Modi Cabinet till March this year until TDP pulled out its support from the BJP government. According to The News Minute, Chowdary a close aide of TDP President and CM Naidu is accused of frauding with various banks for over Rs 5,700 crore.
Cheating with banks
The raids were conducted at seven locations in Hyderabad and one in Delhi after three FIRs were registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). These FIRs were registered by three banks stating that they were cheated for Rs 364 crore (Central Bank of India, Rs 133 crore; Andhra Bank, Rs 71 crore and Corporation Bank, Rs 159 crore) by Best & Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd, Chennai (BCEPL), an entity linked to the Sujana group of companies.
In 2015, when Chowdary was appointed in the cabinet, it came into the light that a company- Sujana Towers that runs under the name of Chowdary was a loan defaulter and it had not paid interests to the Central Bank of India for a loan of Rs 316 crore.
According to The News Minute, in the same year, another report surfaced that said that Sujana Universal, another company run by the minister had defaulted a Rs 92 crore loan that was availed through Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd. The bank had approached the Hyderabad High Court against Sujana Companies.
The ED investigation also reveals that in few cases loans were also given to the Sujana group against the personal guarantee of Chowdary.
Minister owns dummy Companies
In the raids that took place on Saturday, six luxury cars including a Ferrari, Range Rover and Benz were seized by the ED from Chowdary’s residence. According to the ED, these vehicles were seized under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as the vehicles were registered in the name of dummy companies.
Meanwhile, Chowdary has clarified saying, “Of the six cars seized by ED, three are registered in individual names and three are in the names of companies. The three companies which own the cars are not dummy companies as alleged. I have only a symbolic stake of 1% in these companies,” reported The News Minute.
After the raid, the ED has claimed that they have also found documents that show Chowdary’s control over 120 companies, that do not even do any genuine business activities. A seize order by ED has also been passed for these companies.
Minister claims these are false allegations
The minister and the owner of Sujana Group of Companies, Chowdary has called this “false reports”. The group issued a statement saying, “This is an attempt to defame the Sujana Group of Companies. We have provided all information as required by the ED. There is a false rumour that lookout notices were issued to the directors of the group.”
However, this is not the first time when the ED has raided Chowdary’s property. In the last two months, ED has carried out two raids, a similar raid was conducted on October 10.
This raid has come in the wake of several raids that have been conducted by the Income Tax authorities against TDP leaders. Previously, a similar raid was conducted at MP CM Ramesh, another close aide of Naidu. Ramesh had sought an explanation from the IT department on the searches against the TDP leaders. Amidst the series of raids going on, the TDP party has claimed that the Modi government is misusing central agencies to target them.