Who is 'pepper spray' Rajagopal?
Moneylife Digital Team 14 February 2014

L Rajagopal, the chairman of Lanco group and Congress MP sprayed pepper spray while the Telangana bill was being placed in Lok Sabha. Lanco, which is in the debt restructuring process, has also been frequently involved in a number of controversies

Lagadapati or L Rajagopal is in the eye of storm for using pepper spray in the Lok Sabha for stopping the Telangana bill from being submitted. The Member of Parliament (MP) from the Vijaywada constituency is a known opponent of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Although, this time, the Congress MP seems to have gone too far. Following the pepper spray incident, he, along with 17 other MPs, is suspended from the Lok Sabha for rest of the session. Earlier too Rajagopal has crossed swords with Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.


While speaking with Rajdeep Sardesai of CNN-IBN, the MP accused Congress leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, for influencing the Speaker to suspend him along with 17 other MPs. “More than 100 MPs were in the well on Thursday, the Speaker singled out some MPs, action must be taken against all MPs. Ministers were in the well too. The government and the Congress leadership influenced the Speaker to act in this manner. The procedure of introduction of the Bill was incorrect, she didn't read our names. We will be sending letters of how all procedures were violated to the Speaker and various political parties," Rajagopal told the channel.


Defending his stand over using pepper spray in the Lok Sabha, the expelled Congress MP said he used the spray only in self-defence as he was attacked by a mob. "I have a right to defend myself. Pepper spray is a legally allowed weapon of self-defence. What would I have done if the 'mob' attacked me. I used the pepper spray to disperse the crowd that had gathered at the well of the house," Rajagopal told CNN-IBN in an interview.


There is another side of Rajagopal, a corporate or business side that is also equally controversial. He is founder chairman of the Rs15,000 crore Lanco group that has interests in engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), power, solar, natural resources and infrastructure.


In 1985, Rajagopal joined Lanco, which at that time was a small company.


According to Wikipedia, Lanco grew at a tremendous pace since the early 1990s, after Rajagopal married the daughter of veteran Congress leader Parvathaneni Upendra, and joined politics himself. Initial growth was driven by large contracts primarily in construction. Later, other infrastructure areas such as power generation, transportation etc. were also added. 


"(Lanco's) key businesses have been frequently involved in a number of controversies. In 2007, (its) managing director GV Babu was caught at an airport with a suitcase containing Rs34 lakh in unaccounted cash. Repeatedly tarnished by charges of corrupt practices and contract irregularities, Lanco Infratech Ltd ran into financial trouble and has filed for Corporate Debt restructuring (CDR) in July 2013," Wikipedia says.


In December 2006, the company won a large contract citing a collaboration with Singapore firm Globeleq. However, two months later, Lanco (along with Jindal) acquired Globeleq Singapore, and other competing bidders alleged foul play, resulting in the bid being cancelled.


Wikipedia says, "In several situations, Lanco would obtain substantial reappraisals after winning a contract. In 2007, after winning the bid for the 1000MW Anpara-C power plant, Lanco requested that the power output be re-negotiated. Some competing firms protested since the re-negotiation process made the initial bidding meaningless. However, Lanco managed to retain the Anpara project."


In a similar bid for power plants in Uttar Pradesh, Lanco's bid was initially accepted, but after they asked for an increase in the power selling rate, fresh bids were sought and Reliance Energy went on to bag the contract.


"In 2007, it was revealed that the company had also been the beneficiary of a number of multi-crore insurance 're-appraisals', which are required by many contracts. The scam involved government owned insurance companies," Wikipedia says.


There were also charges of forgery against Lanco, when New India Assurance claimed that the policy number 610200/44/08/03/60000027 of Rs1.89 crore, submitted to the housing ministry, had not been issued by it.


By July 2013, the company had filed for corporate debt restructuring (CDR), citing a business slowdown. Nomura had kept its rating and valuation (target price) on Lanco 'suspended' as it says the company is in the process of restructuring the debt on its standalone balance sheet, by way of reference to the CDR Cell.


"Group net debt-to-equity, including working capital loans of power SPVs and Griffin Coal acquisition debt, stood at12.7x as of December 2013 compared with 10.7x as of September 2013. Receivables from state discoms stood at Rs2,770 crore as of December 2013 compared with Rs2,940 crore as on September 2013, as impasse on tariff-related issues continued; the decline in receivables was largely on the back of recovery of Rs160 crore from Uttar Pradesh," Nomura said. 


Coming back to Rajagopal, he has been most vocal opponent of Telangana. Last year, he even resigned from the Lok Sabha. However, Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar rejected the resignation of Rajagopal and 12 other MPs in October 2013. Rajagopal then approached the Delhi High Court seeking direction for the Lok Sabha speaker to accept his resignation.

sai krishna pavuluri
10 years ago
Did Moneylife ever write an article on Sonia Gandhi family fo rtaking the nation granted and Robert Vadra business connections.

Nope. I dont think so. Narional Media has been biased (probably afraid) of the one family that has been runing the nation
shadi katyal
Replied to sai krishna pavuluri comment 10 years ago
Why do we change the subject and not stick to the point.
When did Sonia or Rahul and Vedera sprayed peppers???
The article is about a so called an MP who committed crime and his background how he has looted through his company.
Let us hear what your opinion about his criminal act
nagesh kini
Replied to shadi katyal comment 10 years ago
shadi you're bang on.
from the name it appears s/he is from the land of the 'pepper-sprayer'.they seem to be taking things too far for the good of all.
nagesh kini
Replied to shadi katyal comment 10 years ago
shadi you're bang on.
from the name it appears s/he is from the land of the 'pepper-sprayer'.they seem to be taking things too far for the good of all.
Gopalakrishnan T V
10 years ago
The Lanco group would have definitelyavailed of heavy loans from Various banks and the concessions and reliefs obtained by the Groups needs to be throughly investigated. As an Mp and as otherwise also he would have influenced many to get undue favours for him and his Comapny. In india influence, connections and Contacts matter to get favours and this needs to be probed in detail. Hope the money Life will have this in its agenda
10 years ago
Meet the very model of perfection that has arisen, like Aphrodite, from the churning of Indian Culture carried out by India's Honourable elected representatives over the last 66 years. This is probably the first time since pepper spray was not readily available to elected representatives until they started travelling abroad at public expense. The tyrannized educated and cultured minority may have to be forgiven for wishing that Rajagopal had carried a few grenades instead. After the Great War, the British launched a decisive attack on Brahminism with a view to breaking the back of Hinduism with Rao Bahadur Patro and the "Justice Party" from which the self proclaimed Dravids descend. and which passed the notorious Gazetted Communal Order (#613) of 1927. A deluded Potti Sriramulu self immolated which shocked Harrow Fag Nehru, unfamiliar with Dravidian ways of erecting temples to Chief Bandits and self immolating at the drop of a hat to essay linguistically reorganized states beginning with Andhra. None have contributed more to the eradication of Indian culture and law and order than the Republic of India, its Social Engineering Constitution, laws and governance. One remembers that NO action has been taken on the All India Moslem Riots of Ramzan 2012 when Bangalore was sought to be ethnically cleansed like Kashmir, a woman cosntable was battered to death in full view of her passive "comrades: in Bombay and the "Amar Jawan Jyothi, Sraue of Mahaveera and Budha were desecrated and vandalised in Lucknow, Hyderbad and Bombay respectively. This tolerance of crime as a political expedient has fostered a pervasive climate of rape, loot, murder or whatever with impunity. This is the culture that Parliament has created. Parliament cannot escape the consequences of its own meticulous creation.
shadi katyal
10 years ago
It is nice to know that everyone who can finagle the banks and loot the company can also run for the Parliament.
Instead of apologizing for his act, he blames the speaker and others. What speaker should have done was to order him being sent to hospital for his mental stability test. He seems to be paranoid and listening to him on TV one would think, whole word is against him. What happens if he walks in with pistol and kills some one.
The action of all MP are apprehensible and fish market atmosphere shows that our election system is wrong as most of these people do not represent the people but are chamchas of the parties. Unless we amend the constitution and empower the voters, waste of time and money will continue.
What a shame?
nagesh kini
Replied to shadi katyal comment 10 years ago
A shocking Business Line 14/2 report on"Lok Sabha events were no acts of impulse" quotes MPs close to Rajagopal to say - That careful planning was going on for the last over two years and implementation were in play and he had made it known to his fellow MPs of his intention to use pper spray if the T-Bill wasintroduced. He was aided by his earlier comrade Sabbam Hari who had threatened to 'kill himself'.
All such incorrigible parliamentarians should
1. Not be paid their remuneration/TA/DA on the principle of no-work-no-pay and gross indiscipline as is done for factory/office works.
2. They should not be merely suspended for 2/3 months by the speaker, but permanently barred from entry.
3. The RPA to be amended to contest any election for life.
4. All existing 'perks' of office like breaking of Qs at airports, Executive class air travel, unchecked TA/DA and lalbattiwalli gaddis should be terminated with immediate effect.
5. In stead of violating any Election Code of Code, it will seek to usher in good governance and instill discipline in what is turning into unrully mobs.
shadi katyal
Replied to nagesh kini comment 10 years ago
Thanks for all the information and our Constitution needs all the points given by you but unfortunately we allow the people with even jail sentences criminals.
Such MP should be barred for life but has any party guts to do so since all parties have their choicest criminals as MLA,MP etc.
Only way any discipline can come when people are empowered and elected one would know the fury of the people they represent. Otherwise our democracy is a farce and results are evident in every session
nagesh kini
10 years ago
This has to be an eye opener to the RBI and MOF and those so vigorously promoting the Corporate Debt Restructuring/CDR, going by various names like 'regreening distressed assets' allowing banks, mostly in the public sector to resort to back door write offs without following the NPA route.
I, for one, as a former bank auditor on the RBI Panel, have always maintained that the CDR originally envisaged to ressurect genuine corporates was deliberately grossly abused more than misused by unscruplous companies. I'm now proved right.
Those resorting to CDR are Lanco, with this richest Indian MP and KFA with its Rs.14cr for Yuvraj Singh bidding at the IPL by another MP makes a sheer mockery of CDR.
Both the RBI and MOF should revisit the entire CDR fraud by giving it a de novo treatment rather than putting out two Discussion Papers and a Study Paper with long winding names on Distressed Assets all in the last two months, giving us hardly any time to respond with comments and suggestions.
Vinay Joshi
10 years ago

So this proves how [as per your write up] political connections build "BUSINESS EMPIRES"!? PATH BREAKING.

How the group came up? Who were the beneficiaries of their dole?

The said MP, same MP, Lagdapati Rajagopal, had in April 2008 moved a private member bill for disentitlement of DA & termination of membership of MP's who disrupt Parliament. It proposed that DA be denied, such MP's & membership be terminated, coz of disruption by them.

But when he converted 'Lok Sabha' into "CHOKE SABHA" -- his defense was that - "HE WAS PROTECTING HIMSELF"!?
Against whom? Where? How? Who was the threat?

If law makers resort to such things, "UNSAFE"?! - what "IS THEIR CREDENCE"? TO BE IN LS!?

In last 150 years plus UK 'House of Commons' HAS NOT BEEN ADJOURNED EVEN ONCE & NO DISRUPTIONS!


SO MLDT - TAKE UP AN ISSUE - should MP's be frisked now? Be it in Parliament OR MORE IMPORTANTLY ELSEWHERE LIKE,boarding the planes or otherwise like commoners!

Todays political dispensation can even sell our nation, but thanks for the third & fourth estate.


Forget the rest of the country, how many of AP population would know - THAT IT WAS POTTI SREERAMULU, who fasted to death, died in December 1952, demanding a separate state for Telgu speakers? So AP created in 1953!

The long standing demand of Telengana could have been handled in a better way.

MLDT, appreciate , stating, quality of deterioration in public affairs!


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