New Delhi: A mining and infrastructure company Rithwik Projects Private Limited, founded by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rajya Sabha MP, CM Ramesh, donated electoral bonds worth Rs 45 crore to political parties. 

A major player in the infrastructure development sector across India, Rithwik Projects holds important government contracts. 

Incorporated in 1999 in Hyderabad, the company is working on government projects including the Rs 2,099 crore Kharghar-Turbhe Tunnel Road (KTLR) project in Maharashtra, Rs 1,098 crore Sunni Dam Hydroelectric project in Himachal Pradesh and Rs 1,888.5 crore Rishikesh-Karanprayag rail link under the Char Dham Project. It also has NTPC’s Rs 6786 crore contract to operate the Chatti Bariatu coal mine in Jharkhand, and National Mineral Development Corporation’s (NMDC Ltd) Rs 4453 crore contract to mine the Tokisud North coal block.

CM Ramesh, the founder of the company, was formerly a Rajya Sabha member of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

In October 2018, while he was still with TDP, the Income Tax department raided his house, and premises linked with Rithwik Projects and its key personnel. CM Rajesh, his brother and executive director at Rithwik Projects, was also reportedly raided. News agency ANI had quoted Ramesh calling the raids “a clear-cut case of political vendetta, the Centre has been targeting our [TDP] leaders from last 15 days.”

In June 2019, Ramesh, along with four other TDP Rajya Sabha members, quit the party to join BJP. This was immediately after the TDP lost power in Andhra Pradesh.

Ramesh maintains that he resigned from the affairs of the company in 2012 and did not have any involvement in its functioning after that. His son, Rithwik Ramesh, after whom the company is named, heads the operations of the company. His brother still holds the executive director position.

Rithwik Projects donated Rs 5 crore through electoral bonds in January 2023, before February 2023 elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland. It purchased bonds of Rs 40 crore in April 2023, before the Karnataka elections.

In March 2024, CM Ramesh had reportedly expressed his interest in contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from the Visakhapatnam constituency. His request remains pending with the BJP’s top-brass.

Rithwik Projects’ major share of contracts come from public sector companies. 

“Out of the total orders [of Rithwik Projects] of Rs 21212.53 crore, the orders worth Rs 11329.91 crore is for development of operation of coal mine from NMDC Ltd and NTPC Ltd respectively, which are 25-year contracts,” Infomerics, a credit rating agency, noted