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Bhopal: ED arrests Mantena, Tripathi, to remain in Judicial Custody till Feb 3

02:00 AM Jan 21, 2021 | Staff Reporter

BHOPAL: Enforcement Directorate has arrested two people on money laundering charges in the infamous e-tender scam on Wednesday.

The agency arrested Srinivas Raju Mantena, chairman of Mantena Constructions and his associate Aditya Tripathi of Arni Infra, of Bhopal under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Wednesday in Hyderabad. The accused were produced before the ED PMLA Court and have been remanded to judicial custody till February 3.

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A large number of infrastructure companies- mostly based in Hyderabad -had conspired with some senior government officials and IT service providers of MPSEDC to tamper with the  e-Tenders to illegally obtain contracts worth thousand crores.

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Enforcement Directorate (ED) has initiated investigation based on the FIR filed with EOW in April, 2019.   Contd. on P8

Max Mantena Micro JV Hyderabad, GVPR Engineers Limited Hyderabad etc were named as the main beneficiaries of the scam.

The MP e-Procurement Portal was managed by MPSEDC and Antares Systems Limited, Bangalore and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). They were given a contract for 5 years for the maintenance and operation of the said portal.

According to EOW chargesheet, it has been established from the IP access logs that Osmo IT Solutions Pvt Limited of Vinay Choudhary and Varun Chaturvedi had misused the login credentials provided by Antares and had illegally accessed and tampered the e-tenders and changed the bid values of several companies.

In return they had taken bribes from the bidding companies. Max Mantena JV Hyderabad had illegally won a tender worth Rs 1030 Crore. Several other tenders are also under scrutiny and are suspected to have been won by using the same modus operandi.

Statements of various stakeholders have recorded under PMLA Mantena group has seen a big spurt of successful bids in last few years either directly or in association with other Hyderabad based companies.

Investigation conducted so far revealed that the chairman of Mantena Constructions, Srinivas Raju Mantena, has played a crucial role in the entire scam with assistance of his friend Aditya Tripathi.

He set up a front entity Armi Infra in Bhopal and used it to route funds for hawala activities. Mantena has admitted that it has given sub-contracts of earth works worth around Rs 93 Crore to Tripathi.

Investigation under PMLA further revealed that Arni Infra is simply a front entity which has been cleverly created by Tripathi at the instance of Mantena to book fictitious work orders, generate cash and to pay bribes to senior government functionaries for tampering with the eTenders.

 The office of Arni Infra was located in a new large building, but remained empty and none of the employees were aware of any real ground level works and were serving on paltry salaries. Fund trail investigation has also yielded direct unexplained financial transactions between Mantena and Arni Infra with the accused directors of Osmo IT Solutions who are already in the custody of EOW.

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