Amaravati: Several YSR Congress (YSRC) leaders and ministers in the Jagan Mohan Reddy government objected to a statement by TDP boss N. Chandrababu Naidu that the arrest of party leader Kinjarapu Atchannaidu earlier in the day amounted to an abduction by the police.
Ministers K. Kanna Babu, Gummanur Jayaram, Mopidevi Venkataramana, Sankar Narayana and Anil Kumar Yadav claimed that Atchannaidu had resorted to corruption and hence was arrested on the basis of evidence.
The Andhra Pradesh Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACb) arrested the TDP MLA and former minister K Atchannaidu and five others for alleged involvement in a Rs 150 crore scam in the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
The YSRC leaders alleged that the TDP was trying to play the backward class (BC) card to mislead the public. They said Atchannaidu was not a Mahatma Gandhi or a Mahatma Phule but a corrupt person whose corruption had been proved.
Municipal administration minister Botsa Satyanarayana denied that the government was being vindictive and said that it has been following the rule book and even the TDP leadership has never said that there was no scam, which shows their guilt.
He said that neither Naidu nor TDP members are denying the irregularities that took place or the charges levelled, but have been harping on the arrest, dubbing it as illegal, which is not as all procedures were followed.
Home minister M. Sucharita said Atchannaidu was taken into custody following procedure after due inquiry into the ESI scam and the TD leaders’ comments that he was kidnapped and their raising the caste card to whip up passions are not in good taste.
Scharita said that everyone is equal before the law and the law will take its course. She stated that fake bills were produced for Rs 100 crore worth of medicines which were not purchased, medical equipment which had an actual price of Rs 15,000 were inflated to Rs 60,000 in the official records. She affirmed that Atchannaidu was arrested on the basis of a thorough inquiry.
Minister for BC welfare, Sankara Narayana, said, “It is quite dreadful to see Naidu infuriating BCs and creating uncertainty with his caste politics. The former TD minister was arrested on charges of irregularities in the ESI scam which has a direct effect on thousands of BCs who contributed from their salaries and yet could not get the intended benefits. Soon the role of Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh will also come into the open. The ESIC scam is just the tip of the iceberg.”
MLC, Janga Krishna Murthy, said that Chandrababu Naidu is in the habit of using the BC card to gain political mileage but has never worked for their welfare. He said that TD calling the arrest as an attack on BCs speaks of their political opportunism as neither Naidu has done any work for the BCs.
Irrigation minister, Anil Kumar Yadav, said it is evident that corruption took place in the purchase of medicines and TD leader Atchannaidu was arrested. Chandrababu Naidu, playing cheap politics, using the BC card is quite appalling.
Yadav pointed out that earlier Chandrababu Naidu sent letters to the Centre opposing the appointment of BCs as judges of the High Court. He added that it is shameful that Naidu is asking people to come on to roads to protest against the arrest of Atchanaidu.