Senior Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu on Wednesday lashed out at the YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh and demanded a response from Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, over the reported arrest of industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad by the Interpol in Serbia.
Over the last few days, several media outlets have reported that Prasad was arrested by the Interpol in Belgrade, after a Red-Corner Notice was issued against him, based on a complaint by the government of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). However, there was no official word on the arrest.
Nimmagadda is an accused in the cases of corruption being probed against Jagan, related to the Vadarevu-Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor (Vanpic) project.
In a statement on Wednesday, Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, who was the former Finance Minister of the state, demanded that Jagan Mohan Reddy reveal his business deals related to the project and also clear the air on Prasad's arrest.
â€œVanpic is a Rs 16,000-crore international scam. The then government, headed by Jaganâ€™s father, gave 28,000 acres to Nimmagadda and, in turn, the latter invested Rs 850 crore in firms owned by Jagan under quid pro quo. Jagan should reveal all the facts,â€™â€™ Yanamala said in his statement.
Media reports had suggested that a delegation of YSRCP MPs had met with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, urging the Centre to seek consular access to Prasad.
â€œWhat were the contents of the petition given by the team to the External Affairs Minister? Why is the YSRCP particular about saving an accused?" the TDP leader asked.
It was during the tenure of Jagan's father, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, that the Vanpic project gained traction. The government of RAK had signed a concession agreement with the government of Andhra Pradesh and Prasad's firm, but the project failed to take off, as alleged corruption came to light.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) which is investigating the case had earlier launched a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and claimed that Prasad allegedly paid bribes to Jagan Reddy in the form of investments totalling about Rs 779.50 crore in the latter's companies, Jagati Publications Ltd, Carmel Asia Holdings Pvt Ltd, Bharathi Cement Corp Pvt Ltd and Silicon Builders Pvt Ltd.
Investigators in the ED said Prasad also paid Rs 57 crore to Jagan Reddy on the pretext of secondary purchase of shares and donation of Rs 7 crore to the YSR Foundation.
In lieu of the alleged bribes, Prasad was "illegally" awarded the project for the development of the Vadarevu-Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor, the ED claimed.
Nimmagadda Prasad, more commonly known as 'Matrix Prasad', is an affluential businessman with connections in Tollywood and in political circles. He is also the owner of Indian Super League (ISL) outfit Kerala Blasters FC (KBFC).