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CBI to question TDP MP in bank fraud case

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has summoned former Union Minister Y S Chowdary of the Telegu Desam Party (TDP) to appear for questioning at its Bangalore office in connection with a bank fraud case amounting to more than Rs 300 crore, sources here said on Thursday.

The Rajya Sabha MP is to be questioned by investigators on Friday to determine his role in the case where Best and Crompton Engineering Projects Limited (BCEPL) defaulted on loans taken from a consortium of banks led by the Central Bank of India.

The CBI has named several directors of BCEPL in its FIRs as accused persons in the case for hatching a criminal conspiracy to cheat several banks by forging documents and falsifying account statements and balance sheets.

Sources said the decision to call Chowdary in for questioning was arrived at after detailed investigation of all the allegations in the case, and more about his role in the fraud will be known only after his questioning is completed.

However, Chowdary issued a letter on Thursday night denying having held "any executive or non-executive positions in any corporate entity since October 2014".

He added that he has no knowledge or acquaintance with BCEPL or its affairs at any point of time.

The CBI had registered three FIRs in the case following complaints from the banks sometime in 2017, but none of them named Chowdary as an accused in the case.

Chowdary's party TDP quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in March 2018.

In November of the same year, officials of the Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax raided his homes and offices in New Delhi and Hyderabad, in what ED had claimed was a multi-thousand crores bank fraud case.

Following this, ED attached Viceroy Hotels, a Rs 315 crore worth property in Hyderabad promoted by Chowdary and with links to BCEPL.

According to the complaints filed by the lending banks, BCEPL had used entities such as Viceroy Hotels and Sujana Group of Companies (founded by Chowdary) among others to divert loan amounts for use other than the original purpose.

Chowdary said that he held only non-executive positions in three companies of the Sujana Group till 2014. CBI's case against BCEPL looks at offences committed between 2010 and 2013.

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