Trafficking case, MLA surrenders
Soyam Bapu Rao, MLA, who went underground soon after his name figured in the human trafficking case, surrendered before the city police on Thursday, ending the week long suspense.
He is the second TRS legislator to surrender in the case. Another TRS legislator Kasipeta Lingaiah is already in jail.
Bapu Rao surrendered at the Central Crime Station at 8.30 am on Thursday. The city police have registered a case against him under sections 419, 420, 468 and 471 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 12 (1) (b) of the Indian Passport Act.
Bapu Rao was named by the alleged kingpin and travel agent Mohammed Rasheed Ali, who surrendered before the police earlier this month.
In his confessional statement, Rasheed had told the police that he had an understanding with Bapu Rao to apply and obtain four passports and USA visas for Gujarati people showing them as those of his wife and three children. "I had promised to pay Rs 30 lakh to Bapu Rao for successfully obtaining passports and visas to impersonated Gujarati persons to go to the USA," he said.
The four passports in the names of Bapu Rao's wife, Soyam Bharathi Bai and his sons Soyam Venkatesh and Soyam Mahesh and daughter Soyam Krishnaveni with the photos of impersonated Gujaratis were obtained on January 10, this year. The passports were recovered from the residence of a former Telugu Desam Party corporator Mohammed Muzaffar Ali Khan, who has been arrested for sheltering and rendering financial help to Rasheed.
Speaking to mediapersons just before his surrender, Bapu Rao asserted that he was "100 per cent innocent". He alleged that he was being implicated in the case by TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao through the passport agent Rasheed. He said that he would expose the role of 'conspirators' at the appropriate time.
"It was Kasipeta Lingaiah (another arrested MLA) who introduced Rasheed to me. It is true that I applied for passports for my wife and children through Rasheed because I am a tribal MLA and do not know much about the (procedures for obtaining) passports and visas. I signed the papers and gave them to Rasheed. Only Rasheed knows what happened subsequently. I did not know that he would do all this. The passports were with Rasheed and they were recovered from his accomplice. I think K Chandrasekhar Rao is behind this conspiracy," he said.