HYDERABAD: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday continued searches it began a day back at companies owned by TDP Rajya Sabha member Sujana Chowdary and issued an order summoning him for questioning on Tuesday, even as AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu cried hoarse that his party’s leaders are being targeted by Central agencies at the BJP’s behest.
Chowdary, a close aide of the yellow party chief, is accused of having cheated various banks of over Rs 5,700 crore. The Sujana Group of Companies is under the scanner of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the CBI for alleged violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). Preliminary inquiries by the ED found certain loans to the companies were sanctioned against the personal guarantee of Sujana Chowdary. Six high-end cars registered in the name of shell companies operated by the group were also seized under provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The CBI’s Bengaluru Banking Security and Fraud Cell had earlier registered three FIRs against Best & Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd, , Chennai (BCEPL) — a part of Sujana Group of Companies — based on a complaint from three banks alleging a fraud of Rs 364 crore (Central Bank of India, Rs 133 crore; Andhra Bank, Rs 71 crore and Corporation Bank, Rs 159 crore) by falsification of accounts and submission of false statements.
Based on the FIRs, ED Chennai initiated investigations under PMLA and conducted searches at the residence and offices of top officials of BCEPL at Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad in October.
Verification of the documents indicated BCEPL and other firms of Sujana Group of Companies were functioning under the chairmanship of YS Chowdary alias Y Satyanarayana Chowdary alias Sujana Chowdary. “In voluntary statements, directors of BCEPL had inter alia stated that Sujana Chowdary is the person responsible for the entire activities of Sujana Group of Companies and that they all have acted and rendered their signatures on the insistence of Sujana Chowdary, either directly or through officials of Sujana Group of Companies and that they are namesake directors and had no idea as to how the funds of BCEPL were utilized,” an ED release said.
The ED conducted simultaneous searches at seven locations at Hyderabad and one at Delhi of Sujana Group of Companies. Further, documents indicating Chowdary’s control over 120 companies, most of which are without any genuine business activities, were also seized. Meanwhile, Sujana Group of Companies condemned the “false reports”.
“This is an attempt to defame the Sujana Group of Companies. We have provided all information as required by the ED. There is a false rumour that lookout notices were issued to the directors of the group,” a statement by the group said.