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TRS legislator remanded to judicial custody

Andhra legislator Soyam Bapu Rao, facing charges in a human trafficking case, was on Friday remanded to judicial custody for two weeks.

india Updated: May 11, 2007 14:06 IST

Andhra Pradesh legislator Soyam Bapu Rao, facing charges in a human trafficking case, was on Friday remanded to judicial custody for two weeks by a local court.

Nampally metropolitan criminal court sent the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) rebel MLA to judicial custody till May 25. He was then shifted to the Chanchalguda central jail in Hyderabad.

Bapu Rao, who is charged with obtaining passports for others in the name of his wife and children, had surrendered on Thursday. Police, however, said he only did so in response to a notice served on him after a case was registered last week.

Officials said Bapu Rao cooperated in the investigations. Claiming that he was innocent, the legislator admitted meeting Mohammed Rasheed Ali, the alleged kingpin of the scandal.

He said Rasheed was introduced to him by Kasipeta Lingaiah, another TRS legislator already in judicial custody.

Lingaiah, who also secured a passport for another woman in the name of his wife, had surrendered before the police on April 27. He admitted before the police that he appeared for the visa interview at the US consulate in Chennai and introduced the woman as his wife. The visa, however, was denied to the woman. He alleged that Rasheed had offered him huge money and a free trip to Europe.

Rasheed and his associate and former TDP corporator Muzaffer Ali Khan are already in judicial custody.

Rasheed, who had surrendered on May 3, claimed that Rajupitti, a cricket bookie, and Mohammed Shakeel, a TDP leader, were the kingpins of the racket. He also alleged that some leaders of TRS and TDP were involved in the racket.

The human trafficking scam unravelled in New Delhi last month when a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP was caught at the airport while trying to smuggle out a woman and a teenage boy to Canada on the passports of his family.