Officials of the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department through Friday and Saturday conducted searches at the residence and offices of former Union Minister Y Satyanaryana Chowdary among seven locations in Hyderabad in connection with a money kaundering investigation.
Apart from the residence of Chowdary, who owns the Sujana Group of Companies, ED sleuths raided severak companies associated with the Group and searched one location in Delkhi as well.
An ED statement said that its investigations have revealed that several “banks have been defrauded by the group companies to the tune of more than Rs 5700 crores”. The agency has claimed that “certain loans to group companies were sanctioned against the personal guarantee of Sri Y.S.Chowdary”.
ED has now asked CHowdary, who is popularly known as Sujana CHowdary in Hyderabad, to join investigations and has issued summons for his appearance on November 27. “At the residential premises of Y.S. Chowdhary 6 high end cars( Ferari, Range Rover, Benz etc.) were found which are registered in the name of dummy companies. These vehicles have been seized under the provisions of PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act).”
Among the premises raided were those of Splendid Metals, Sujana Universal–both belong to Chowdary and are located at Nagarjuna Hills and Jubilee Hills. The raids come just over a week after Andhra Pradesh withdrew its consent to CBI to conduct searches or raids in the state without permission from the state government. ED has claimed that during its searches it has also recovered documents which revealed that “various FEMA/DRI/CBI cases were existing against the group companies. Similarly documents related to forex transactions were also seized. Documents recovered indicates that they are controlling over 120 companies and most of them are non-operating or companies on paper only without any genuine business activities.”
The ED case is based on three FIRs filed by CBI against M/S Best and Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd , Chennai (BCEPL) for fraudulently obtaining loans to the tune of Rs 364 crore from a consortium of Central Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank.
ED had conducted searches in this case on October 8 at residential and office premises of key officials of BCEPL at Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. “Searches resulted in the recovery and seizure of 126 Rubber Stamps of various shell companies from the business premises at Plot No.18, Nagarjuna Hills, Punjagutta, Hyderabad-500082. It was also identified that, the above business premises has accommodated many companies of Sujana Group,” the ED statement said. According to ED, verification of documents seized indicated that BCEPL along with other group companies of Sujana Group were functioning under the “Chairmanship of Shri Y.S. Chowdary alias Sujana Chowdary, who is a sitting Member of Parliament-Rajya Sabha, representing Telugu Desam Party”.
ED has claimed to have found evidence of CHowdary’s close connection with suspect companies.
“Investigations revealed that all the Directors of various Sujana Group Companies act under the instructions of Shri Y.S. Chowdary, which is evidenced by the email correspondences and communications recovered from the business/residential premises of Directors of BCEPL. Further, in their voluntary statements tendered under Section 50 of PMLA, directors of BCEPL had inter alia stated that Shri Y.S. Chowdary is the person responsible for the entire activities of Sujana Group of Companies and that they all have acted/rendered their signatures on the insistence of Shri Y.S. Chowdary, either directly or through CFO & CS of Sujana Group of Companies and that they are namesake Directors and as such they had no idea as to how the funds of BCEPL were utilized and that the entire operations/transactions of Sujana Group of Companies are known only to above key persons,” the ED statement said.
This is the second time that ED and IT departments are raiding on Chowdary, and sixth TDP leader to be targeted by central agencies. AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has accused the BJP at the Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of using central investigation agencies to target TDP after it broke ties with BJP and exited NDA. Chowdary who was Union Minister of State for Science and Technology in NDA Cabinet, resigned after the TDP exited NDA in protest against NDA not granting Special Category Status to AP. Naidu said that the BJP was indulging in vindictive politics by sending central agencies after TDP leaders.
On October 13, TDP Rajya Sabha member C M Ramesh’s residence and business premises were raided by IT officials. The raids were conducted three days after Ramesh, a member of the Parliament Political Affairs Committe (PAC) wrote to IT Department seeking explanation for the series of raids conducted by IT on political leaders in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In October, IT conducted raids on TDP leaders and businessmen Beeda Mashtan of Nellore N Iswar Rao in Visakhapatnam, and K Ravindra Babu in Vijayawada.