Hyderabad : The sleuths of Enforcement Directorate (ED) have arrested Hyderabad based business man Srinivas Raju Mantena, Founder and Chairman of Mantena Constructions in a Rs 1030 Crore e-tender scam. The investigating agency also took into custody Srinivas's associate Aditya Tripathi of M/s Arni Infra, a resident of Bhopal.

According to ED, Srinivas Raju Manthena and Aditya Tripathi have conspired with few senior government officials and IT service providers to tamper the e-Tenders and to illegally obtain large value contracts. Both were produced before the special court hearing ED cases in Hyderabad and have been remanded to judicial custody till 3rd February 2020.

The investigating agency was acting based on an FIR filed by Bhopal police against Hyderabad based M/s Max Mantena Micro JV and M/s GVPR Engineers Limited. As per the FIR, the MP e-Procurement Portal is managed by MPSEDC and M/s Antares Systems Limited, Bangalore and M/s Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

They (accused) were given a contract for 5 years for the maintenance and operation of the said portal. According to the FIR filed in Bhopal, it has been established from the IP access logs that M/s Osmo IT Solutions Pvt Limited of Vinay Choudhary and Varun Chathurvedi had misused the login credentials provided by M/s Antares and had illegally accessed and tampered the e-tenders and changed the bid values of certain companies to make them L1.

In return they (accused) had taken illegal gratification from the bidding companies. M/s Max Mantena JV Hyderabad had illegally won (tender no 10030 ) worth ₹ 1030 Crore. "There are large number of other tenders which are also under scrutiny and are suspected to have been won by using the same modus operandi" ED concluded.

ED searches revealed that Mantena group has been a surge in successful bids in last few years either directly or in association with other Hyderabad based companies. "Srinivas Raju Mantena, has played a crucial role in the entire scam. With the assistance of his friend Aditya Tripathi he set up a front entity M/s Arni Infra in Bhopal and used it to route funds for hawala activities. Both have admitted that M/s Mantena Constructions have given sub-contracts of earth works worth around ₹ 93 Crore to Aditya Tripathi" Investigation found.

M/s Arni Infra is simply a front entity which has been cleverly created by Aditya Tripathy at the instance of Srinivas Raju Mantena to book fictitious work orders, generate cash and to pay bribes for tampering with the e-Tenders and also for bribing senior government functionaries.

The office of M/s Arni Infra is located in a new large building, but is mostly 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 M/s Mantena and its front entity M/s Arni Infra with the accused directors of M/s Osmo IT Solutions who are already in the custody.

Coreena Suares

Coreena Enet Suares is the Editor of NewsMeter. Her stories have been published in the Deccan Chronicle Newspaper and the Asian Age. Coreena began her career as a News Anchor. Throughout her journey, she has been able to build a strong network with people from all walks of life. She is an alumnus of Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists- Research and Investigation, a flagship initiative of the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) Coreena is also a certified fact-checker by Google India Initiative. She has attended the 'Defence Correspondents Course 2019, through which she visited Indo- Pak border, besides traveling on a War-ship and insight into operations of Fighter aircraft. Coreena's focus areas are anti-crime investigation agencies and Defence reporting.

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