M. Srinivas

Confesses in human trafficking case

HYDERABAD:Travel agent Mohd. Mazharuddin Ali alias Rasheed, arrested here in connection with the human trafficking case involving suspended BJP MP Babubhai Katara, has said four members of Parliament, a former MP, two MLAs and a former Minister were involved in the racket.

In a confessional statement to the police, a copy of which is available with The Hindu , Rasheed said he dealt with suspended Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MP A. Narendra, parliamentarians Ravindra Naik and Madhusudhan Reddy of the party and Mohd. Taher Khan, MP from Uttar Pradesh.

He also named the former Telugu Desam Party MP, Suguna Kumari, and Nimmala Kistappa, former Minister.

In the case of the two MLAs, Kasipeta Lingaiah of the TRS has been arrested and a case has been registered against Soyam Bapu Rao.

Rasheed said he met Mr. Narendra in 2002 and explained the modus operandi. He handed over some recommendation letters and Mr. Narendra's original passport to one Yousuf here. "It is learnt that Yousuf arranged visas to some Gujaratis," he said.

In April 2003, Rasheed claimed, he met Suguna Kumari and Mr. Kistappa. "I paid Rs.1 lakh as advance to Suguna Kumari, who had come to the U.S. consulate in Chennai along with eight Gujaratis. But their visas were rejected," Rasheed said adding that she did not return the money.

Rasheed said he offered Rs. 20 lakh to Mr. Kistappa for arranging visas to four Gujaratis. "But, police raided my house and seized the passports of Narendra, Suguna Kumari, Kistappa and 25 others. He and a friend, Prakash Reddy, were released on bail on July 21, 2003.

Rasheed maintained that he met Mr. Narendra again in February 2005 and sought his help. It was then that Mr. Naik's passport was given to him. It was returned after an unsuccessful attempt to smuggle people to Japan and Taiwan.

He paid Rs. 18 lakh to Mohd. Taher Khan for arranging visas for a woman and two children. However, he did not know who were sent abroad.

Ajit Reddy, PA to TRS president K. Chandrasekhara Rao, introduced him to Mr. Madhusudhan Reddy in April/May 2006. But the deal did not fructify, as the MP demanded a heavy amount in advance.

Rasheed and his associate Muzaffar Ali Khan, a former corporator here, were remanded to judicial custody up to May 18.

Search on for bookie

The police are on the lookout for a cricket bookie, Raju Pitti, in connection with the racket.

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