Top Andhra politicians linked to human smuggling: Rasheed


Hyderabad : Travel agent Rasheed, arrested on charges of smuggling Indians abroad, has told the police that several top politicians in Andhra Pradesh were involved in the racket, police sources said Friday.

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Rasheed, whose real name is Mohammed Mazharuddin Ali and who surrendered Thursday, also named Hyderabad-based cricket bookie Rajupitti as the kingpin of what was until recently a flourishing scam, the sources said.

He reportedly said that Rajupitti – alias American Raju – fled the country after Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Babubhai Katara was arrested April 18 in New Delhi just before boarding a flight to Canada with a woman and a teenage boy. The woman was travelling on the diplomatic passport of his wife.

Investigation sparked off by Katara’s arrest has led Delhi Police to separately allege that at least four other MPs were also involved in the human smuggling.

According to the Hyderabad Police sources, Rasheed has implicated Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) leader A. Narendra, who has since been suspended from the party, TRS MPs Madhusudhan Reddy and Ravindra Naik, TRS legislators Kasipeta Lingaiah, S. Baburao and S. Ramalinga Reddy, TDP leader Mohammed Shakeel alias Shameem, former TDP MP Suguna Kumari and former TDP corporator Muzaffer Ali Khan besides Ajit, a personal assistant of TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao.

Narenda has repeatedly denied the charges flung at him and instead accused Chandrasekhara Rao of involvement in the smuggling of people who paid large sums of money to travel on diplomatic passports provided to politicians.

Similarly, most others named by Rasheed have also denied the allegations made against them. TRS legislator Lingaiah is in custody for obtaining a passport for a woman masquerading as his wife, and Baburao is still at large.

Rasheed allegedly told the police that “American Raju” used to send people abroad for a charge of Rs.500,000 each. He described TDP leader Shakeel as a key player, adding the man used to send women from Gujarat to the US.

Police sources said Rasheed also claimed to have paid Rs.1.1 million to a TRS leader for sending five Gujarati women to the US. He said the same politician also got Rs.4.5 million from another man.

Rasheed also claimed to have paid Rs.200,000 to a former TDP MP to send people abroad.

TRS MPs Madhusudhan Reddy and Ravindra Naik had earlier claimed that their passports were misused when they were in Narendra’s possession.

During searches at Rasheed’s house, police seized six passports, including those belonging to couple of legislators.

Police have also arrested TDP’s Muzaffer Ali Khan for providing financial help and shelter to Rasheed.