The Hyderabad Police on Monday arrested former Congress MLA Jayaprakash Reddy for allegedly trafficking three people to the United States on the basis of forged passports in 2004, reported PTI. Reddy, who represented Sanga Reddy constituency back then, was produced in court on Tuesday and sent to 14 days in judicial custody.

Reddy was booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code related to human trafficking, forgery and cheating, as well as charges under the Passport Act and the Immigration Act, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (North Zone) B Sumathi. The police has also sought information from the US Consulate.

Reddy in 2004 allegedly obtained passports for himself and three other people from the Regional Passport Office in Secunderabad. He forged the documents by using the names of his wife Nirmala, daughter Jayalaxmi, and son Bharath Sai Reddy, and affixing photos of three unknown persons to them, reported The Hindu. He then allegedly accompanied the three people to the US and also took Rs 15 lakh, Rs 5 lakh for each person, from an agent.

“The former MLA confessed that he took an amount of Rs 15 lakh from an agent and trafficked three unknown persons to the US by accompanying them as his family members and dropped them at New York,” said Sumathi. They were also probing the possible involvement of another Congress leader, she added.

However, Reddy said the case was “politically motivated”, accusing caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his nephew, Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao, of plotting to get rid of him ahead of the Assembly elections later this year. His followers have called a bandh in Sanga Reddy on Wednesday to protest his arrest.

Reddy alleged that the state government was trying to morally weaken Congress leaders by filing cases against them. “Not only me, they are trying to weaken other leaders also with cases,” he said. “I am asking why they filed a case against me at this point of time.”

Reddy started his political career with the Bharatiya Janata Party as a councillor, joining the Telangana Rashtra Samithi in 2004 and becoming an MLA. However, he joined the Congress a few years later due to differences with TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao.