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TRS suspends No. 2 leader over trafficking scam

Hyderabad, April 26
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party has suspended its No. 2 leader and MP A Narendra for his alleged involvement in the human trafficking racket.

Narendra’s suspension was announced by TRS official spokesperson S Madhusudhana Chary after daylong consultations by party president K Chandrasekhar Rao with party legislators on Wednesday.

Chary said a showcause notice was also issued to Narendra, asking why he should not be expelled from the party.

He claimed that police investigations had confirmed that visas had been issued to some people on diplomatic passports of TRS MPs D Ravindra Naik and T Madhusudhana Reddy when they were in Narendra’s possession.

Denying his involvement in the scandal, Narendra said he had collected the passports to facilitate the MPs’ visit to Pakistan as part of a parliamentary delegation. The visit was subsequently called off and he returned the passports, he claimed.

Narendra, who termed his suspension as “unjustified”, is likely to make a detailed statement later.

Though the names of Narendra and some other MPs and legislators of the party were being linked to the scandal, the TRS chief decided to crack the whip on his deputy.

Rao had earlier said he was under pressure from party ranks to expel Narendra ahead of the party’s high-profile rally to celebrate its sixth anniversary at Warangal Friday.

Rao and Narendra had recently developed serious differences and the allegations against the latter may have come in handy for the TRS chief.

Narendra had quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to float the Telangana Sadhana Samiti (TSS) to fight for a separate Telangana region. He later merged his outfit with TRS.

In the 2004 elections, he was elected to the Lok Sabha and served as minister along with Rao in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government till the party quit the ministry in August to protest the delay in carving out a separate state.

Two other MPs and six party legislators are also suspected to be involved in the human trafficking scandal that broke out after BJP MP Babubhai Katara was arrested in Delhi last week for trying to smuggle out a woman and a boy on his family’s passports.

TRS rebel legislator from Karimnagar district, K Lingaiah, remains elusive as police and passport authorities continued to probe allegations that he had sent a woman abroad on his wife’s passport.

Another TRS legislator, S Ramalinga Reddy, claimed he had refused an offer by a broker to help in the racket for Rs 30 lakh.

TRS MP Vinod Kumar said he had complained to police about the letterheads of some of his party MPs being misused for obtaining visas, over which no action was taken. — IANS

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