AP boat tragedy: missing operator surrenders to cops

Says he was only the licence holder while business was being handled by his partners.

Published: 15th November 2017 02:11 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2017 08:09 AM   |  A+A-

A file picture of the ferry boats parked the Krishna river ghat near Vijayawada

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA:  The licence holder of River Boating & Adventure Partners who was absconding for the last two days after the death of 22 persons in a boat capsize incident near Pavithra Sangamam surrendered before the police on Tuesday.Sesham Moda Kondala Rao, who is reportedly being detained by the Commissioner’s Task Force (CTF), gave an interview to a vernacular news channel before his dramatic surrender.He claimed that he was a partner of the company only in name and that all the operations were being handled by certain “big fish”. He added that he joined the company only after Neelam Seshagiri Rao and Gedala Srinivasa Rao (two other accused in the case) offered him a share in profits. 

“Believing that the opportunity would relieve me from my financial burdens, I gave my nod to their proposal. They put my name in as I’m a local and will be available for them 24/7,” Kondala Rao said. However, speculation is rife that he has been friends with the other partners since childhood.The CTF has begun quizzing Kondala Rao on the backgrounds of the four other partners of the boat operator and the possible links certain employees of the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) share with the company.

Kondala Rao, who runs a small firm that sells and markets solar-powered products in Vijayawada, said he still doesn’t know the names of most employees of the boating  company. “I had incurred huge losses in my business. It was at that time that they  approached me. I’m not an important person in the company. I do not even know the names of the employees of the company,” he alleged. 

When asked about his share in the company, Rao clarified that he had not invested in the business. “My investment in the company is zero. All I have in the company is my  name as license holder. They (the other four partners) have invested around `50 lakh so far and were about to put in another `20 lakh for the purchase of new boats,” he said. 

After Vinjamuri Vijaya Saradhi (one of the alleged managers) and Kondala Rao were taken into custody, a manhunt was launched to nab the other absconding partners. 
“On the day of incident, Seshagiri Rao and Manoj were in contact with me and promised that they would take care of the incident. But on Monday, they went AWOL,” said Rao.

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