Rome, March 11 (IANS/AKI) The Italian police on Friday arrested 19 officials, road contractors and a lawyer amid a widening probe into alleged corruption at the state-owned road construction agency ANAS.

A finance police statement announcing Friday’s operation did not specify if the suspects had been taken to prison or put under house arrest.

A Rome preliminary investigations judge referred to “widespread rottenness in one of the most visible public bodies in the economic sector of (public) contracts” in the warrant issued for Friday’s arrests.

More than 250 finance police in Rome raided over 50 locations and seized assets worth some 800,000 euros linked to the 19 suspects as party of the probe in which a conservative lawmaker is said to be under investigation.

The lawmaker is said to be 53-year-old Marco Martinelli from ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia opposition party. He is a member of the lower house of the Italian parliament’s public works committee.

Friday’s arrests follow an operation in October in which a former junior minister for transport, Luigi Meduri, five ANAS employees, a lawyer and three road-building entrepreneurs were either jailed or put under house arrest.

The suspects face various charges including corruption and vote-buying, according to Rome prosecutors spearheading the investigation.

Meduri, a member of the ruling centre-left Democratic Party, was undersecretary for transport in 2006-2008 and also served as a national lawmaker and governor of the southern region of Calabria.