GUNTUR: ACB officials on Saturday questioned former minister and TDP MLA K Atchannaidu for six hours at Guntur GGH, where the TDP leader is undergoing treatment, in connection with the multi-crore ESI scam.
ACB officials ended the questioning by afternoon, but later they resumed it in the evening claiming that they have time till midnight to question Atchannaidu. The ACB officials sought details of his alleged phone calls to officials, when he was Labour Minister, asking them to give purchase orders at “exorbitant prices”. The former minister was also asked about the allegations of influencing ESI officials through his letters for finalising tender for tele-health services to a particular company.
The minister denied his involvement in the tender finalisation and said that it was done by ESI directors.
Atchannaidu’s advocate Maguluru Haribabu said that TDP MLA stated that the Union government had written letters to the State about modernising ESI hospitals, but the then government did not respond to the two letters. He said that as the minister of labour, Atchannaidu responded to the third letter and asked officials to follow the Telangana model in implementing the scheme.
The former minister also claimed that he did not force ESI officials to purchase equipment at exorbitant prices, but only advised them to conduct a study on tele-health services implemented in other States.
Doctors will examine him on Sunday or Monday. Haribabu said it will take another week for Atchannaidu’s recovery and added that his bail petition will come up for hearing on Monday.