Ramesh Kandula/Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, May 4
Rasheed, a city-based travel agent who surrendered yesterday before the city police, told interrogators that several MPs, MLAs and former ministers were involved in smuggling out people to other countries with the help of their diplomatic passports.
During the interrogation, Rasheed reportedly named MPs and legislators of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), former TDP MPs and ministers, claiming that they were among his contacts.
Prominent politicians whose names cropped up during the interrogation were suspended TRS MP and former union minister A. Narendra, TRS MPs Madhusudan Reddy and Ravindra Naik, rebel TRS MLAs K. Lingaiah, who is already in police custody and S. Bapurao, against whom a case has already been booked, former TDP MP Suguna Kumari, and former TDP ministers T. Srinivas Yadav and N. Kishtappa.
However, the police is still ascertaining facts before making any further move. “Based on the information provided by the accused, we are verifying the records before taking further action,” the police sources said.
Rasheed, who had allegedly struck a deal with political leaders to ferry out people abroad using fake passports and travel documents, was today produced before a local court here along with his accomplice and former TDP city businessman Muzaffar Ali.
Both were remanded in judicial custody till May 18 by the additional chief metropolitan magistrate.
Adding a new twist to the emigration scam, Rasheed is said to have named Rajupitti, a bookie from Gujarat, as the mastermind behind the operation.
He is believed to have fled the country soon after the racket came to light with the arrest of Gujarat BJP MP Babubhai Katara at Delhi international airport last month.
Rasheed confessed before the police that he and another person, identified as Shakeel from Nizamabad district, had worked for Rajupitti as his agents.
While Rajupitti used to identify the prospective clients willing to cough up huge money to go abroad, Rasheed was asked to scout for MPs and MLAs who could be lured with bribe in return for using their diplomatic passports.
Meanwhile, Narendra, who has been suspended from the TRS, denied charges of his involvement and instead accused party chief and MP K. Chandrasekhara Rao of smuggling people out of the country.