Hyderabad: IT conducts searches on AP CM Naidu’s close confidant CM Ramesh

Hyderabad: IT conducts searches on AP CM Naidu’s close confidant CM Ramesh
HYDERABAD: Income Tax sleuths on Friday conducted massive searches on Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandra Babu Naidu’s close confidant
CM Ramesh family-owned flagship company Rithwik Projects Private Limited and its subsidiaries in Hyderabad and Andhra Pradesh.

Cinthakunta Munuswamy Ramesh alias CM Ramesh is a Rajya Sabha member from Telugu Desam Party and hails from Kadapa. He and his family are into irrigation contracts and other significant projects in AP.

Searches were conducted on 12 premises in Hyderabad and five locations outside Hyderabad.

Rithwik Projects Private Limited was incorporated in 1999, and it has CM Ramesh’s kin CM Rajesh and three others as directors of the company. The turnover of the company in 2016-17 was Rs 1357 crore. And it has a net worth of Rs 302 crore.

CM Rajesh is also a director of Rithwik Properties Private Limited, Global Earth Minerals private Limited, Rithkwik Holdings private limited, Anjandri Power private limited, Kadapa Power Private Limited, Narayanadari Green Energy Private Limited, Kadiri Green Power Private Limited and Rithwik Green Power Limited. The companies are into construction, mining and power generation.

Income Tax officials knocked the doors of the luxurious property of CM Ramesh at Jubilee Hills spread over 40,000 square foot which is a four-level structure , with a 25-foot-high floor to ceiling and teak wood pool deck. Famous architects Zubin Zainuddin then designed the House.

The biggest project executed by Rithwik so far is the construction of Koteshwar Hydro Electric Project in Uttarakhand worth Rs 787 crore. In Andhra, it is currently implementing Rs 805 crore PVNR Thupakulagudem project. The company is presently awarded Rs 1600 crore worth projects in HNSS irrigation project in Anantapur. Mines department recently slapped fines on Rithwik Projects Private Ltd and Sri Sai Laxmi Construction Company regarding mining irregularities in Vamsadhara project in Srikakulam.

In a writ petition filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court against AP CM N
Chandrababu Naidu and his aide, former chief minister Y S Rajashekar Reddy’s wife YS Vijayamma alleged, “CM Ramesh, a close aide of Naidu, was then chairman of Rithwik Projects Limited, a contraction company which holds Chandra Babu Naidu’s ill-gotten money. This is the reason for the elevation of Ramesh as the top functionary in the TDP. From a small turnover of Rs 61 crore in 2003, Rithwik Projects returned a turnover of Rs 488 crore by 2009 as a sub-contractor which speaks about the difficult and phenomenal growth of the company.”

She further alleged, “There was a regular infusion of capital into the company annually, which is surprising, especially when even a Singapore-based Private Equity Firm – Baring Private Equity Asia IV Mauritius invested in this small contract firm from Andhra Pradesh. The list of Shareholders is enclosed herewith. By the year 2009 when the elections to the AP state assembly were conducted, enormous amounts of cash balances were accumulated, and a lot of cash expenses were booked running into crores of rupees.” It was alleged foreign currency transactions were carried out in a sub-contracting company which needs a thorough verification. Andhra Pradesh high court dismissed the petition in 2012 February. As Vijayamma appealed to Supreme Court, it rejected the same request in 2012 July.