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HC asks Sujana to appear before CBI, stops arrest

HC asks Sujana to appear before CBI, stops arrest

Hyderabad: The Telangana High Court on Tuesday directed Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MP and former Union Minister Y.S. Chowdary to appear before the CBI on May 27 and May 28 in the case of electrical equipment manufacturer Best and Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd allegedly cheating the Andhra Bank of Rs 71 crore in 2017.

The court also directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to arrest Chowdary and complete his questioning in two days. The agency was also asked to allow the MP's lawyer to be present during the questioning.

The CBI had issued notice to Chowdary to appear at its Bengaluru office on May 4 as part of its probe into the case. The TDP leader, who is an industrialist, had challenged the summons in the high court, stating that he was neither a shareholder nor a director in the company.

The agency had registered a case against the Chennai-based company and its five directors on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.

After the CBI served him a notice, Chowdary had said that he was not having any connection, knowledge or acquaintance with the company.

The Enforcement Directorate earlier this month attached immovable and movable properties of Viceroy Hotels Ltd, Hyderabad worth Rs 315 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in the same bank fraud case in which Chowdary was also allegedly involved.

The ED had taken up the case on the basis of CBI FIR filed against Best & Crompton Engineering Pvt Ltd (BCEPL) and their officials, who entered into a criminal conspiracy during 2010-2013 for "defrauding Central Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank".

The total loss caused to the consortium of banks due to the fraud was to the tune of Rs 364 crore. According to the ED, the BCEPL is a part of Sujana Group of Companies, of which Chowdary is said to be a promoter.

A Rajya Sabha MP, Chowdary is considered a close aide of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu. He was a Minister of State in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government before the TDP quit the NDA early last year over the Centre's refusal to grant special status to Andhra Pradesh.

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