Amid speculation about Andhra CM Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP joining the NDA, the CBI has booked the party’s rebel MP Kanumuru Raghu Ramakrishna Raju and his wife in connection with alleged bank loan fraud.
Raju has been named along with his wife Kanumuru Rama Devi and nine others in an FIR that alleges that a consortium led by Punjab National Bank had been defrauded by him and his company of Rs 826 crore of loans.
The agency carried out searches at around 11 locations in Hyderabad, Mumbai and West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Thursday in connection with the case.
Last month, Raju had publicly criticised his party, calling it anti-Hindu. During Zero Hour in Lok Sabha, the MP from Narsapuram had on September 19 said, “In Andhra Pradesh, as of now a constructive destruction is happening with regard to Hindu temples.”
Despite protests from his party MPs, Raju continued to speak on the issue and demanded a Hindu commission, saying that despite being the majority Hindus were being treated like the minority. The party later initiated disciplinary proceedings against him and issued a showcause notice.
Apart from Raju and his wife, the CBI has booked his daughter Kotagiri Indira Priyadarshini, Ind Bharat Thermal Power Ltd (of which Raju is director) and seven others who had held positions in the company.
The case has been registered on the basis of a complaint from Punjab National Bank. “It was alleged in the complaint that the accused had cheated the Punjab National Bank-led consortium banks by way of diversion/siphoning off bank funds etc,” CBI spokesperson R K Gaur said.
According to the complaint, the company had siphoned off loans issued to it during 2014-18. The loans had been issued to set up a 300 MW power plant in Uttara Kannada district. Due to environmental issues, the project was shifted to Tuticorin, it said.
The bank has alleged that the company, instead of paying the debts to the bank, made payments worth Rs 267 crore to related parties during 2014-18 besides Rs 41 crore of receivables by the company were also transferred to them.
The company did not provide any documents, reasons or justification for transferring Rs 300 crore working capital loans given by the banks to related parties, the FIR has alleged. According to the bank this diversion of fund was in violation of RBI guidelines.
The company showed the value of the entire coal inventory reduced from Rs 249.67 crore on March 31, 2017 to Rs 2.76 crore on March 31, 2018. The board minutes record that the value of coal inventory dwindled because it was old and unsuitable for use due to sustained deterioration.
“It is highly unlikely that such a huge quantity of stock had deteriorated within a period of just one year and no steps could be taken to realise the money there against,” the FIR said.
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