HYDERABAD: Khammam MP Nama Nageshwara Rao, the TRS floor leader in the Lok Sabha, on Saturday rubbished reports of him quitting the party to join the BJP to protect his business interests in the wake of recent raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Madhucon Group of Companies owned by his family members in Rs 1,064 crore bank loan fraud case.
Speaking to media persons here, Nageshwara Rao said TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and the people of the Khammam Parliamentary constituency were his strength, adding that there was no question of deserting the TRS or betraying the faith of Chandrashekar Rao in him. "Whatever troubles I might face, I will continue to sail with the TRS and KCR” he said.
Nageshwara Rao said he would appear before the ED on June 25, as per the summons issued by the latter and extend full cooperation to the ED and other investigating agencies probing the alleged bank fraud of Rs 1,064 crore. He made it clear that he did not hold any executive position in the Madhucon Group which were named in the alleged fraud as he relinquished posts in 2004 after he entered politics. He said he was being dragged into the issue unnecessarily.
The TRS MP said Ranchi Expressways Limited was formed as a special purpose vehicle in March 2011, and was awarded a contract for four-lane works of Ranchi-Jamshedpur section from 114 km to 277.4 of National Highway-43 in Jharkhand on DBFOT (design-build-Finance-operate-transfer) basis.
He claimed the NHAI awarded the contract, but failed to fulfil its contractual obligations and even took a U-turn by terminating the contract without following the terms of contract, putting their company to material loss and damages.
“The issue has been referred to arbitration following which the Arbitration Tribunal was constituted on November 11 last year and the proceedings are in progress,” he said.
He said the project got deferred due to inordinate delay in handing over of the land (Right of Way) and obtaining of environmental and forest clearance by the NHAI.
“Out of the total project cost of Rs 1,655 crore, the company’s equity was Rs 463 crore, but it had brought in Rs 485 crore, whereas bankers released only Rs 652 crore. There was no default or siphoning off funds because the money was in the escrow account over which only banks have the authority to withdraw. Since the issue is sub judice, I cannot comment more," Nageshwara Rao added.