The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Andhra kingpin spills Mulayam MP name
- Trafficking confession sucks in UP legislator

Hyderabad, May 4: Trafficking kingpin Mohammed Rasheed has in a statement mentioned a new name — Samajwadi Party MP Balchand Yadav from Uttar Pradesh.

The Bahujan Samaj Party MP from Sultanpur, Mohammed Tahir Khan, and paan shop owner Sunderlal Yadav, against whom allegations had surfaced soon after the racket snared Gujarat BJP MP Babubhai Katara, also figured in the statement released by police this evening.

Rasheed said Sunderlal, Balchand and Tahir had got in touch with him in Delhi between 2003 and 2004.

He said he had paid them Rs 20 lakh each through K. Ramanamurthy, the secretary of A. Narendra, who was suspended from the Telengana Rashtra Samiti after his name figured in the scam.

Tahir rubbished the charge and said his party was free to take action if he was proved guilty.

“I have never gone abroad alone. Whenever I went to a foreign country, I was part of a delegation. So, there is no question of being connected to the traffickers.”

Balchand, who recently crossed over to Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party from the BSP, said the couple of times he had flown abroad, he had been alone. “Neither my wife nor my son has a passport. So I couldn’t possibly have smuggled anyone out of the country under their names.”

Rasheed, who surrendered yesterday after allegedly receiving death threats from politicians, also spilled the names of several MLAs and MPs from Andhra Pradesh.

In the statement, Rasheed — who owns a travel agency — said he had been sucked into the visa racket by another kingpin, Mohammed Shakeel.

Telugu Desam Party MLA Ramakanth was the first politician for whom he had made a fake visa and passport to send a Gujarati woman abroad, he said. Soon after, he was introduced to Narendra, who was then a BJP MP.

“Narendra gave me his original passport and three recommendation letters,” Rasheed said.

But Narendra today denied knowing Rasheed. “I have no idea about this person. Whatever he has told the police about me is absolutely false and has no basis,” the former Union minister said.

In 2003, Rasheed said, Desam leader K. Prakash Reddy introduced him to party MP Suguna Kumari and minister Nimmala Kistappa, who took money for providing recommendation letters and their original passports.

“The visas made from these documents were rejected but they refused to return the advance,” he said.

Rasheed was arrested on July 21, 2003, and the police seized almost 25 passports and photographs from his home. But he escaped conviction as the police failed to provide evidence against him.

While the CBI was probing the involvement of Katara in the racket, Rasheed’s name figured as a conduit between Gujarat and Andhra.

Rasheed has been remanded in judicial custody till May 18.

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