Cobrapost: AP minister caught in sting operation

Last Updated: Tue, May 07, 2013 05:34 hrs

Operation Red Spider 2, online magazine Cobrapost's latest edition of sting operation on the alleged involvement of public sector banks in money laundering practices, shows an Andhra Pradesh politician, Sake Sailajanath, minister for primary education and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, offering laundering service.

According to the conversation transcription that runs along the video posted on the Cobrapost website, the deal is to accept Rs 25 crore black money and convert half of it as white in the form of a cheque.

Sailajanath, who represents the Singanamala constituency (SC) in Anantapur district, was seen speaking to an undercover Cobrapost reporter, who was seeking help to convert black money, using the minister's contacts. In the transcript, the minister is heard saying "Yaa, no problem" in response to a suggestion by the Cobrapost reporter that "Jo convert hoga vo 25 ka hamko aap sade bara karod hame cheque se white karke louta denge tho, it's important (you should return Rs 12.5 crore of the Rs 25 crore that would be converted as white money in the form of a cheque)".

The minister, who is currently on a visit to his home district, has denied having taken part in such a conversation. "Someone came to me with a request to use my good offices to help him get a loan sanctioned for his project. Nothing of the sort that they had posted on the website had ever taken place," he told Business Standard on phone when contacted for his response.

According to the video, the undercover reporter refers to some 'Swamiji' who is close to one Manoharji (apparently referring to an officer with the same name working in an Indian Bank branch in New Delhi). The conversation then leads to one Dr Hariprasad, who happens to be the link connecting the bank official and the AP minister. Dr Hariprasad is a relative of the bank official and was junior to the minister when he was studying medicine.

In another clipping of a conversation with the bank official at his Delhi office, the reporter tells him there is handsome money available for a long-term investment. He says Rs 1 crore is available now and the rest would be made available later. Then he goes on to say that the investment has to be made in the name of the minister's wife and also in the name of his (undercover reporter's) wife.

The bank official is heard asking the reporter whether the money would be deposited in cash or in cheque, to which the undercover reporter says it will be entirely in cash. The official then goes on giving suggestions to the reporter.

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