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Trail of Moin Qureshi’s texts reaches CBI chief: ‘What’s the best time to meet boss?’

Logbook shows Qureshi met Sinha when son of accused in CBI case sought help.

Written by Appu Esthose Suresh | New Delhi |
October 30, 2014 3:57:18 am
The messages have one common theme: Pradeep seeking Qureshi’s help in the bail applications and discharge petitions filed by his father and his brother Madhu Koneru. The messages have one common theme: Pradeep seeking Qureshi’s help in the bail applications and discharge petitions filed by his father and his brother Madhu Koneru.

The trail of text messages that originated from meat exporter Moin Qureshi’s BBM account does not end at the door of former CBI chief A P Singh. Another set of messages leads to the logbook for visitors at the residence of the current CBI chief Ranjit Sinha.

These messages centre around Pradeep Koneru, businessman and son of Prasad Koneru, a co-accused in a case of disproportionate assets filed by CBI against Andhra politician Jaganmohan Reddy; Aditya, an employee of Qureshi; V V Laxminarayana, a CBI Joint Director who had investigated the case; and of course, Qureshi.

The messages have one common theme: Pradeep seeking Qureshi’s help in the bail applications and discharge petitions filed by his father and his brother Madhu Koneru who is also an accused in what is commonly referred to as the Emaar-APIIC case.

On May 8, 2013, Pradeep, Director of Trimex group, sent a message to Qureshi, asking, “What’s the best time to meet boss?” Qureshi responded: “Afternoon”.

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The BBM texts reveal that a few days later, Pradeep was still persuading Qureshi to set up a meeting with “boss”, whose identity becomes clearer in another exchange between the two on May 20.

Pradeep to Qureshi: “It’s important to meet boss. Do we have an appointment?”. Qureshi’s reply: “Meeting confirmed today 2.30 pm”. Pradeep, again: “Where do I meet you?” Qureshi’s response: “2 pm Defence Colony.”

This is where the dots start to connect. Qureshi’s residence and office were in Delhi’s posh Defence Colony. The logbook at Sinha’s residence showed that one “Kureshi”, in a car bearing the registration number DL-7CG 3436, was there at 2.40pm that day. And, The Indian Express has confirmed that the car mentioned in the text belongs to Qureshi.

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These messages are part of an Income Tax report on Qureshi submitted by I-T officials to Supreme Court which is hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Prashant Bhushan on the visit of individuals probed by CBI to the residence of Sinha.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi has informed Supreme Court that there are no direct conversations between Qureshi and Singh. However, Bhushan has claimed in his petition that according to the logbook, Qureshi visited Sinha 70 times in 15 months during that period.

When contacted by this newspaper, Sinha questioned the veracity of the logbook. “The veracity of the logbook is dubious. I have contested it. The A-G has told court that there are no direct conversations between me and Qureshi. I have not helped Koneru. You will appreciate the fact that anybody can drop my name and I would not know. I have not seen the messages that you are referring to, hence I am not in a position to say anything further.”

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The Indian Express had reported Wednesday about another set of BBM texts involving Qureshi and former CBI chief A P Singh, which is part of the same I-T report. In Chapter 10 of the report, titled “Income generated by Moin Qureshi with his high level government contacts”, tax officials have also raised a demand of Rs 5.87 crores for undisclosed income from the exporter for the period August-November 2013, and highlighted his connections with “high-ranking officials”.

While Rohatgi highlighted the “coded conversations” between Qureshi and A P Singh, the content of the texts between the exporter and Pradeep Koneru are equally bizarre. Consider these:

* On July 13, Pradeep texted Qureshi: “I have sent 25 diaries today.”

* In the same series, Koneru texted Qureshi: “Dog has left. Can boss speak to new JD?”. Qureshi responded: “Boss will call him to Delhi.”

Significantly, in another message, Qureshi told Pradeep: “Met Boss. He will speak to JD Chennai.”

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In July 2013, CBI Joint Director V V Laxminarayana, who had filed several chargesheets against Jaganmohan Reddy was repatriated to his parent cadre after the completion of his tenure even though there was a move to grant him an extension.

In August 2013, Pradeep’s father Prasad approached Chennai High Court seeking relaxation in his bail condition – the plea was granted.

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In this context, another set of messages between Pradeep and Qureshi assume significance. On August 13, Pradeep texted: “There is small delay. 250 mtr work will start from tomorrow”. Qureshi replied: “Do it asap. Its not good”, and later added: “Pls finish remaining 450 mtr work. Thanks. I got reminder.”

Here are some of Pradeep’s messages to Qureshi during that period: “Another 45 days to complete work. Business very bad. Pls help”; “Discharge petition of Madhu coming on October 13.”

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When I-T officials asked Qureshi what the “work” mentioned in the messages was, he told them that he was referring to silk fabric.

Then there’s an exchange of texts between Qureshi and Aditya, an employee of Qureshi’s firm Forum Sale. Aditya wrote: “Received 50L from Pradeep”.

During questioning by I-T officials, Qureshi said he could not “recollect the identity of Pradeep” mentioned in the text. However, investigators have in their possession an email received by Aditya on September 7, 2013, which refers to the discharge petition filed in court by Madhu Koneru. The sender’s ID? pradeep@trimexgroup.com.

The Emaar-APIIC case

* The Emaar-Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) case is related to 535 acres of land on the outskirts of Hyderabad allotted to the Dubai based Emaar

* A chargesheet filed on February 1, 2012 accused Prasad Koneru, chairman of Trimex group and real estate promoter, of allegedly collecting upto Rs 100 crores for plots developed by Emaar-APIIC. He did so, it was alleged, by undervaluing the market price, causing a huge loss to APIIC which holds 26 per cent equity in the development.

* Prasad, whose son Madhu is a co-accused in the same case, was arrested in November 2011, when A P Singh was CBI chief. He received bail nine months later following his fifth plea. The Koneru duo had also moved a discharge petition in September 2013, which is still pending in court. In between, after Ranjit Sinha became CBI director, the two were jailed again in the same case.

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First published on: 30-10-2014 at 03:57:18 am
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