VIJAYAWADA: TDP Rajya Sabha member and former Union minister YS Chowdary, popularly known as Sujana Chowdary, has been asked by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to appear before its Bengaluru office on Friday in the Rs 71-crore bank fraud case. He was earlier summoned by the Enforcement Directorate.
The case pertains to the alleged cheating of the Andhra Bank by electrical equipment manufacturer Best & Crompton Engineering Projects Limited (BCEPL) to the tune of Rs 71 crore in 2017.
While the investigation agency asserts that the BCEPL is a shell company of the Sujana Group, the MP has, however, denied any connection with it or knowledge of the company and its affairs at any point of time. “I will be taking appropriate steps in this (CBI summons) matter,’’ he said.
In the case registered against the company and its five directors, including Managing Director Kakulamarri Srinivas Kalyan Rao, the CBI has filed charges under various sections of the IPC, including criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.
Three cases have been registered by the Bank Securities and Fraud Cell (BS&FC) of the CBI, Bengaluru, claiming a combined loss of Rs 364 crore to three banks - Central Bank of India (Rs 133 crore), Andhra Bank (Rs 71 crore) and Corporation Bank (Rs 159 crore) - caused by BCEPL by taking loans by falsification of accounts and statements. The complaint was lodged by the consortium of the banks. Even as the CBI is probing the case, the Enforcement Directorate, Chennai, has also initiated investigation into the alleged fraud under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED, in its investigation, found that BCEPL and other Sujana Group Companies were functioning under the chairmanship of Sujana Chowdary and directors of these firms were acting as per his instructions. The ED said it had evidence in the form of email correspondence and communications recovered from the business/residential premises of directors of BCEPL. Directors of BCEPL, in their statement to the ED, also stated that Sujana Chowdary was responsible for the activities of Sujana Group and that they all acted/rendered their signatures at the insistence of the TDP MP and they were nominal directors and, as such, they had no idea as to how the funds of BCEPL were utilised and that the entire operations/transactions of Sujana Group of Companies were known only to key persons.
Subsequently in November, the ED conducted searches at the residences and other premises of Sujana Chowdary in Hyderabad and other places and seized six high-end cars and rubber stamps of various shell companies. Sujana Chowdary had also appeared before the ED for questioning. Sujana Chowdary, however, said he was nowhere concerned wi th the case.
“Since 2003, I have been holding only non-executive positions in three listed entities of Sujana Group, namely Sujana Universal Industries Limited, Splendid Metal Products Limited and Neueon Towers Limited with no powers of management of the companies till October 2014,’’ Sujana Chowdary said in a note issued on Thursday in response to the CBI summons. “I confirm that I do not have any connection, knowledge or acquaintance with the company referred by them or its affairs at any point of time,’’ he contended.