AMARAVATI: The Andhra Pradesh police along with the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Friday arrested Telugu Desam Party (TDP) Tekkali MLA Atchannaidu for his alleged involvement in the scam pertaining to Employees State Insurance (ESI) funds.
Atchannaidu was arrested after ACB sleuths had visited his house in Tekkali of Srikakulam district along with a posse of more than 100 policemen. Later, he was shifted to Vijayawada to be produced in court on Friday. Atchannaidu is the prime accused in the ESI scam. The Vigilance Enforcement, which submitted a detailed report on the scam sometime back, has detected large-scale irregularities in purchases running into several hundred crores.
The sleuths of ACB which is currently probing the scam case have taken him into custody. The anti-corruption wing has identified that a huge scam has taken place in the ESI under Atchannaidu's watch as then labour minister during the previous TDP regime led by Chandrababu Naidu.
Atchannaidu is accused of violating rules by unilaterally allowing purchase of medicines worth RS. 975 crore. The investigating agencies found misapproprition to the tune of more than Rs 100 crores through the creation of fictitious bills.
Atchannaidu allegedly permitted the purchase of medicines at higher rates. As against the government's grant of Rs 293 crores, bills worth Rs 698 crores were produced for the purchase of medicines, thereby causing a loss of Rs 404 crore to the state's exchequer.
In addition to that, under the alleged guidance of the TDP MLA, the directors of ESI have diverted funds to the tune of Rs 85 crore, in the name of procuring lab kits for firms like Legend Enterprises, OmniMedi and Inventor Performance which were involved in the ESI scam.
In 2018-19 records, the actual worth of purchased medicines was shown as Rs18 crore as against an actual cost of Rs 8 crores. TDP MLA Atchannaidu is also under scanner for this misappropriation of Rs 10 crore.
ACB officials also found out that there has been a huge scam in the purchase of medicines, lab kits, furniture and ECG services besides biometric machines.
The TDP leader has allegedly created fake indent on the cost of each biometric mission purchased. As against an actual cost of Rs.16,000 for each machine, bill were produced showing an inflated cost of Rs 70,000 for each of them.