Andhra Pradesh

ACB to verify call data of accused in ESI scam

Seven persons arrested so far and search is on for four more

Officials of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), who are investigating the multi-crore scandal in the purchase of drugs and other material in the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) hospitals and dispensaries, are planning to verify the call data of all the accused involved in the case.

Former Labour Minister and TDP MLA K. Atchannaidu, three ESI directors, five joint directors, a couple of civil surgeons, pharmacists, senior and junior assistants, and central drug store in-charges are allegedly involved in the scam.

The Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) and ACB officials visited several ESI dispensaries and diagnostic centres across the State, interacted with the employees, and submitted a report to the government on the irregularities.

The ACB sleuths had so far arrested Mr. Atchannaidu and six others – retired directors C.K. Ramesh Kumar and G. Vijaya Kumar; retired joint director V. Janardhan; senior assistant in the Director of Insurance Medical Services (DIMS) Ivana Ramesh Babu; DIMS superintendent M.K.P. Chakravarthy (under suspension), and an employee of the central drug store Venkata Subba Rao.

Special teams are on the look out for Jercon Enterprises director Ravi Tejasri; Tele Health Services Private Limited director T. Pramod Reddy; Prodigy Computers and Labs director T. Dinesh; and Jalam Environment Private Limited director G. Murali Krishna.

‘19 identified’

“So far, 19 accused have been identified in the scam and further investigation is on. More arrests will be made soon. The accused had purchased materials worth ₹988 crore in the last four years without calling for tenders and by avoiding e-procurement (in some purchases), thereby causing ₹150 crore loss to the government,” said ACB Joint Director P.V. Ravi Kumar.

The police will verify the call data of the mobile phones of all the accused to know since how long the ESI officials have contacts with the representatives of the firms, and to identify the other accused in the scam.

Bank accounts of all the accused will be frozen in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and other States, and verified by following the legal procedure.

“We will inquire into whether the companies are registered or not, and whether they are given any contracts by A.P. or any other State earlier, and the track record of the managements. We will seek permission from the court, wherever necessary, for taking up further investigation” he said.

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 3:15:14 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/acb-to-verify-call-data-of-accused-in-esi-scam/article31829095.ece

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