The former minister in Chandrababu Naidu’s government in Andhra Pradesh and TDP leader Kinjarapu Atchannaidu has been arrested by the Anti-Corruption bureau due to his alleged involvement in the multi-crore ESI scam. K Atchannaidu is currently the Deputy floor leader in the state assembly. He was reportedly arrested by the Anti-corruption bureau in Srikakulam.
As per reports, at 7:20 am the ACB DSP(CIU) TSRK Prasad along with a team of Anti-corruption Bureau and the help of the local police arrested the TDP leader from his residence in Nimmada village of Kotabommali Mandal in Srikakulam district. He was taken to Vishakhapatnam for further investigation and later brought to Vijaywada to produce him before the court.
Enforcement Directorate had disclosed the ESI scam in the vigilance worth 404.86 crores in February 2020. The ED had accused K Atchannaidu of involvement in the alleged scam. Former Directors of Directorate of Insurance & Medical Services, C.K. Ramesh Kumar and Dr. Vijay Kumar have also been arrested by ACB officials in connection with the case.
As per the report of the V&E department, the scam had taken place between 2014-19. At that time, TDP was in power and Atchannaidu was Minister for labour. Pithani Satyanarayana, another minister has also been accused of the involvement in the scam. However, both the ex-ministers have refuted the claims.
ACB Joint Director Ravi Kumar said, “The ACB during the course of investigation found an amount of Rs 150 crore was misappropriated in the process of procurement of medicines and equipment worth Rs 988.77 crore. As many as 19 government officials and private persons are involved in the scam.”
“Some staff members of DIMS had used forged letterheads and envelopes for file quotations and even produced fake bills. We have identified some who are involved in such irregularities and are still investigating,” he added. “For each ECG Rs 480 was paid, while for ECG in other hospitals, the cost was only Rs 200. Further, ECG services were rendered by diploma holders instead of cardiologists. Rs 1.80 per call was claimed for not only the calls received at the call centre, but also for the entire registered IP of the service provider and also fake calls,” TNIE quoted him as saying.
Reacting on the arrest, N Chandrababu Naidu attacked the Jagan government saying that the former minister has been arrested intentionally in the presence of 100 plus police force. In a press release of the political party, he even termed the arrest as ‘police kidnapping’. He alleged that the TDP leader has been barred to talk to his family members after the authorities cut the network connections and termed the arrest an “attack on the backward classes”.
TDP in its press release also pointed out that in the arrest which has been made four days before the budget session, no notice was served to the ex-minister. TDP Chief demanded the CM, HM, and DGP of state explain the real motive behind his arrest. TDP has decided to stage protests against the arrest made in front of the statue of Jyoti Rao Phule and BR Ambedkar.