M Gopal Reddy
M Gopal Reddy
File photo

BHOPAL: Former chief secretary M Gopal Reddy is trying to get anticipatory bail. Evidence about Reddy’s links with the companies involved in the e-tender scam has cropped up in an inquiry by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). According to sources, the lawyer of Reddy has filed an application for anticipatory bail in a court in Hyderabad.

On January 20, the ED issued a notice to Reddy summoning him to its office for questioning. As Reddy submitted a certificate that he had been afflicted with the coronavirus, the probe agency could not question him. Three weeks have passed since Reddy could not reach the office of ED because of Covid-19. Sources further said the ED had again issued a notice to Reddy for questioning him. He, however, wants to get anticipatory bail before being grilled.

The probe agency, meanwhile, took into custody the owner of Mantena Constructions Limited, Raju Mantena, and that of Arni Infra, Aditya Tripathi. The agency also sent both of them to judicial remand. Now, the agency wants to question Reddy in connection with the scam.

Besides Reddy, the agency is going to issue notices to those whose names Mantena and Tripathi cited at the time of being quizzed. They reportedly confessed to the agency that all those people mentioned by them had taken bribes. The ED issued a notice to Reddy that he might also be questioned along with Tripathi and Mantena. Reddy fears that the agency could arrest him at the time of questioning.

The ED is inquiring into the FIR registered by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). The ED is focusing on money-laundering by the companies involved in the scam. The agency is making efforts to bring to light how the officials in collusion with those companies ripped off government funds. The agency is also looking into how much money was given to the officers against the payment made to those companies.

ED probing case, but state govt saving Reddy

Although the central agency, ED, is probing M Gopal Reddy’s links in the e-tender scam, the state government is trying to sweep the case under the carpet.

Reddy’s 15 months’ tenure in the Congress government in the state has raised many questions. The BJP-led government, which returned to power after the fall of the Congress government, has completed one year, but it is yet to order any probe into the scam.

BJP leader Banti Sahu raised the issue of payment of crores of rupees to the company in advance for construction of an irrigation complex in Chhindwara. The state government, however, did not order any inquiry into it. Conditions in seven tenders were changed during Reddy’s tenure as additional chief secretary in the Water Resources Department (WRD).

The then engineer-in-chief and chief engineer of WRD said conditions of the tenders had been amended at Reddy’s behest. Yet, the government has not ordered any probe into it. Making advance payment by changing the conditions in tenders demands a probe into financial irregularities.

Home minister Narottam Mishra and the BJP’s state unit president, VD Sharma, have already raised the issue of the Ultraviolet Printing case. The case pertains to Reddy’s tenure in the state and it was done through Madhyam. The government is, however, still keeping mum.

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