Industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, who has reportedly been detained in Serbia, has reached out to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India, through his counsel Uma Maheshwara Rao, asking the agency to help him return home.
Prasad's counsel on Friday filed a memo with a local CBI court in Hyderabad as the industrialist, who had sought permission for the trip to Serbia, had said that he would return by August 2.
Nimmagadda is an accused in the cases of corruption being probed against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, related to the Vadarevu-Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor (Vanpic) project.
Over the last few days, several media outlets have reported that Prasad was arrested by the Serbian police in Belgrade, after a Red-Corner Notice was issued against him by the Interpol, based on a complaint by the government of Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), in connection with the Vanpic case.
Speaking to PTI, the businessman's counsel, Uma Maheshwara Rao, said, "We filed a memo intimating (the court) that he was detained by Serbian police at Belgrade on Sunday (July 28)...He is duty-bound to inform that he could not come back (as permitted by the court) as he was detained there. Also we are intimating the CBI so that they can take steps to bring him back to face the trial. So now the onus is on CBI to bring him back stating that he is required here."
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 â€” 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.