ESI scam case: Andhra HC defers hearing on TDP MLA Atchan Naidu's bail plea

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Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], July 27 (ANI): The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday deferred the hearing on the bail plea of TDP MLA Atchan Naidu in the ESI scam case to July 29. ESI scam accused number 2 and TDP MLA Atchan Naidu's bail plea in the case has been reserved for further orders till July 29. Siddhartha Luthra, senior counsel for Naidu had argued that among many representations for contracts he received, he directed the Director, Insurance Medical Services (IMS) to grant the contract to the tele-health services. He even further added that even though he was arguing that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) did not take sanction before proceeding with the initiation of criminal proceedings, he gave up that contention today. Advocate General (AG) S Sriram, who appeared on behalf of the state, opposed granting of the bail to Naidu. He argued that the decision taken by Naidu was not in discharge of his official duties. While listing the reasons for opposing the bail, the AG explained that a contract has been made during the former minister's term where on September 16, 2016, a grant was made on tele-health services that provides services like toll-free services, settlement of medical reimbursement and secondary care referral bills system. This grant is a violation of the financial court and the Government orders which clearly states that any contract over Rs 1 lakh shall be called through the e-procurement method, whereas in this case, a beneficiary was identified and a tailor-made contract was allotted to him. The AG further stated that the accused is making it difficult for the doctors to function in the hospital he has been admitted. He said that what started with fissures now has led to a hospital certifying different illnesses including advice for an angiogram shows the sway and political mileage he (Naidu) possesses. The AG stated that Naidu continues to be protected by the party making it impossible to continue with the investigation. "An accused being an influential person also made the TDP leaders stage dharnas outside the hospital to scare the witnesses. There is a quid pro quo involved in this case. That would be brought out only if Tele-health Services Private Limited director B Pramod Reddy, accused -- A3 is arrested," he said. He concluded by stating that at this stage, granting the bail would further tamper the evidence and hamper the investigation. Further submissions will be made by the AG to the court when the matter comes up on July 29. (ANI)