Lokesh’s conflicting numbers

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Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s son, Nara Lokesh, is under scrutiny, after conflicting figures of his assets have emerged.

In October last year, the TDP leader claimed that he had assets worth Rs 14 crore, while a recent affidavit submitted to the Election Commission (EC) puts the same figure at roughly Rs 330 crore. So, which is it?

Conflicting numbers

The affidavit came to light as Lokesh filed his nomination papers for the Member of the Legislative Council, under the MLAs’ quota, earlier this week.

The earlier figure of Rs 14 crore was announced by Lokesh as part of an annual tradition, where he announces his family’s assets publicly.

He has been doing it for the past six years, and the assets for 2016 were announced in October.

Comparison

As you can see in the table on movable assets, the biggest discrepancy is between the value of shares in Heritage Foods Limited declared in October and March.

While Lokesh is listed as a director on the company’s board, his mother, Nara Bhuvaneswari is listed as the Vice-Chairperson and Managing Director of the group. Lokesh’s wife, Brahmani Nara, is the company’s executive director.

While his affidavit states that he has investments worth Rs 264.90 crore in Heritage, his October list states that he only had investments worth Rs 2.52 crore in the company.

Lokesh has clarified on social media, saying: “My shares in Heritage represent a dynamic wealth, as stock market prices fluctuate. The holding has been constant for over a decade (not a single share sold or purchased) and hence we presented the original investment made in obtaining the shares. In contrast, the Election Commission has mandated the market price to be given as on date of listing. Since the asset declaration details are fairly straightforward, anyone can calculate the market value.”

What Lokesh is claiming is that the value he declared in October was the original investment in the 23,66,400 shares of Heritage Foods. But does his story add up? Are there no ‘actual’ discrepancies in the numbers?

Yes and no.

In India, the face value of each share is Rs 10, and by that calculation, his original investment does add up, if you put a premium of Rs 0.63 per share.

The October 2016 declaration, which should have been for FY 2015-16, claims the value of his shares is for the period FY 1992-93 to FY 2010-11. There is no clear reason why.

The actual market value of each share of Heritage Foods in October 2016 averaged at around Rs 850. Therefore, the total value of his shares in the company would have been Rs 201 crore (approx.).

And that’s the value – a little over Rs 200 crore – that the Andhra CM’s son should have declared in October 2016. However, the October release did have a note that read, “The above values are acquisition cost. Market values differ from time to time. Hence, not indicated.”

In March 2017 – when he filed his affidavit – this value grew to approximately Rs 265 crore.

As far his immovable assets are concerned, there is a discrepancy in the value of ‘Agricultural-Land’ at Madhinaguda in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district, that was gifted to him by his grandmother.

The October declaration makes no mention of the cost of the land, however it does declare that a farm-house was being constructed on the land, worth Rs 2.21 crore, and that it was pledged with the Bank of Baroda.

His affidavit meanwhile states that certain works were ongoing on the land, and it was valued at Rs 38.51 crore, including the ‘cost of construction’.

Lokesh also owns a stake in the family’s residence in Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills.

In his affidavit, Lokesh has said that while the land was estimated to have cost Rs 2.36 crore at the time of purchase, construction worth Rs 7.75 crore was ongoing in the residential building. He added that the construction was being jointly done with his father.

The October release pegs his share of the property at Rs 3.68 crore, while the affidavit states that the present market value of the entire property is over Rs 18 crore.

This makes his total immovable assets worth Rs 56.52 crore, which in turn pegs his total assets at Rs 330 crore.

On Thursday, following several media reports, and critics raising eyebrows, Lokesh also took to Facebook to hit out at Opposition leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy and Sakshi, a media house owned and operated by the family of the latter.

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