Days after Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas, closed down the offices of Kesineni Travels, one of South India’s largest private travel agencies, the businessman-politician spoke to the media to dispel rumors.
This came after allegations from the opposition parties like YSRCP, who alleged that he was running his bus service illegally, and was going into losses, which is why he downed shutters.
“I haven’t done anything wrong. I wanted to stop the buses due to some reasons, so I stopped. I will never operate my buses in these two states (Telangana and Andhra) again. I provide the safest bus travel in the country, not just in the two states,” he told a gathering of the media.
“If you consider my accident rate in the entire country, it’s almost negligible. I have never made any mistakes in my business. I worked with conviction and I’m answerable to my own conscience,” he added.
He also hit out at some media outlets who were ‘spreading rumours’, and said that he would’ve earned several lakh rupees if those ‘reports’ were true.
The Times of India reported that he also refused to hand over his fleet of buses to the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC), as demanded by the opposition and the RTC employees’ union.
The entire fiasco started in the last week of March, when Nani Srinivas, accompanied by TDP MLA from Vijayawada Central, Bonda Umamaheshwara Rao, had heated arguments with Transport Commissioner N. Balasubramanyam over alleged illegal operations of travel operators registered in other states.
The MP alleged that due to the “corrupt” practices of transport officials, around 400 private buses were operating across the state without permits.
He sought immediate seizure of private buses operating without permits.
“Around 150 buses which belong to Orange Travels are operating in Vijayawada and around 400 buses are operating across the state. Owner of Orange travels, Sunil Reddy, is a ‘benami’ (proxy) of YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy. He is influencing transport department officials by offering bribes,” he had alleged.
Subramanyam denied the allegations and said every bus was paying taxes to the Transport Department and operating with permit.
A video also surfaced that showed the TDP MLA Umamaheshwara Rao roughing up one of the security personnel of the Commissioner.
The March 25 incident had snowballed into a major controversy with the transport employees threatening to go on strike if the MP and MLA did not apologise.
Following this, the MP shut the company in protest.
The MP wanted to announce his decision at a news conference on March 31 but the TDP chief asked him to cancel it and called him for talks.
Kesineni reportedly felt insulted after Naidu made him apologise to Transport Commissioner N. Balasubramanyam for misbehavior.