By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Former labour minister and TDP deputy floor leader in the State Assembly Kinjarapu Atchannaidu has been remanded to 14-day judicial custody by ACB special Court on Saturday early hours for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) scam.

Taking note of his health condition, the Court directed the police department to provide medical treatment to him at Government General Hospital in Guntur. The hospital superintendent was directed to submit periodical reports of the former minister’s health and the treatment provided to him. According to his advocate Venkateswaralu, Atchannaidu had undergone a surgery on June 11 and was prescribed rest.

Following the Court directions, the TDP leader was shifted to Vijayawada Sub-Jail initially around 3:30 a.m.  After completing formalities, he was shifted to GGH in Guntur, where he was admitted to a special ward amid tight security.  On the other hand, the main accused in the case CK Ramesh Kumar was shifted to Rajamahendravaram Sub-Jail.

Later, Speaking to mediapersons,  ACB joint director Ravi Kumar said after the former minister recovers and is discharged from the hospital, he will be shifted back to the sub-jail.

He said that both Ramesh Kumar and Atchannaidu have moved house motion in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and that ACB will proceed legally. 

He maintained that ACB followed all procedures while arresting Atchannaidu and others.

Meanwhile, on Friday midnight, when Atchannaidu was brought to the ACB special court, TDP national general secretary Nara Lokesh and several TDP leaders arrived there and tried to meet him. But, they were stopped by the police citing rules.

After some argument, TDP leaders returned criticizing the Government’s attitude.

Atchannaidu was arrested by ACB sleuths on Friday morning at 7:20 a.m. and was brought to Vijayawada around 7 p.m. After taking his statement in the ACB range office at Gollapudi in Vijayawada, he was taken to ESI hospital for medical examinations, before producing in the ACB Special Court.

TDP leader’s name first cropped up in the Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) department probe in February this year. The V&E investigated alleged irregularities in the procurement of drugs and medical equipment between 2014 and 2019 when TDP was in Power and Atchannaidu was the labour minister. 

Following the V&E probe, ACB took over the case and found that Rs 150 crore were misappropriated in the process of procurement of medicines and equipment worth Rs 988.77 crore.

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