ED summons TDP MP after raids at residence, offices

Indo Asian News Service

Hyderabad, Nov 24 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Saturday conducted searches at the residence and offices of former Union Minister and TDP MP Y.S. Chowdary here for alleged financial irregularities, asking him to appear before the agency on November 27.

According to ED, searches conducted at seven locations in Hyderabad and one in Delhi revealed that the banks have been defrauded by companies owned by Chowdary to the tune of over Rs 5,700 crore.

The ED seized six luxury cars including Ferrari, Range Rover, and Benz from Chowdary's residence. These vehicles, registered in the name of dummy companies, have been seized under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Documents recovered revealed that various FEMA/DRI/CBI cases were existing against the group companies. Similarly documents related to forex transactions were also seized, the ED said in a statement.

"Documents recovered indicate that they are controlling over 120 companies and most of them are non-operating or companies on paper only without any genuine business activities," it said.

Preliminary investigations indicate that certain loans to group companies were sanctioned against the personal guarantee of Chowdary.

Chowdary, a member of the Rajya Sabha, is a close aide of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Chowdary was Minister of Science and Technology in the Narendra Modi Cabinet till March when the TDP pulled out of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

The raids were conducted in connection with three FIRs registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on complaints from 3 banks stating that the consortium of banks were cheated to the tune of Rs 364 crore by Best & Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd, Chennai (BCEPL), which had obtained loans by falsification of accounts and submission of false statements.

Meanwhile, Sujana Group said in a statement that the ED team from Chennai had come to gather some information with regard to a 10-year-old case and the same was provided to it. The group denied that lookout notices were issued for some directors.

Saturday's raids come just days after the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the "general consent" it had earlier given to the CBI to operate within its territory.

The CBI now requires the permission of the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct raids in the state.

The move had come following a series of raids by the Income Tax authorities against TDP leaders including Naidu's close aide and MP C.M. Ramesh.

The party leaders alleged that the Modi government was misusing central agencies to target them.

--IANS

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