HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Friday ordered a probe into the allegations of a poultry farm owned by Health Minister Eatala Rajender encroaching assigned lands in Achampet village in the Chief Minister’s native Medak district.
The Chief Minister directed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to obtain a comprehensive report from the District Collector and also asked the Vigilance and Enforcement department to find out the truth in the allegations (made against the minister’s company). The Chief Minister’s decision comes in the wake of a vernacular TV channel, owned by his own family, airing reports claiming to have exposed the encroachment of assigned lands by the health minister.
However, later in the evening, Rajendar held a press conference and dared the Chief Minister to get a probe done by a sitting judge or any investigating agency empowered by the law of the land and prove that he encroached land belonging to the assignees. Describing the media reports as a pre-planned attack to malign his image, the Minister said truth would ultimately prevail.
Sources close to the Chief Minister told Deccan Chronicle that Rao in all likelihood would remove Rajendar from the Cabinet. The swift political developments will have far-reaching consequences and huge impact on state politics. All eyes are on the next move of Eatala, a strong and wealthy politician hailing from Mudiraj community and a close associate of finance minister T. Harish Rao.
The CM’s camp waited for the minister’s press conference to see if he would quit on his own but the defiant minister not only declined to step down but also made several comments that would have a direct bearing on the Chief Minister or on his government’s decisions.
The CMO official media release also said, “The CM issued orders that the preliminary inquiry into the matter should be done immediately,” giving strength to the rumours that Rao was in a hurry to get rid of the health minister. “The situation reached a flashpoint now,” said sources in the CM camp.
According to T News, owned by Rao family, the health minister’s Jamuna Hatcheries was in possession of large extent of assignment land and was laying a road across their lands despite protests from the villagers. A former district collector and a serving additional collector went on record that the health minister asked them to regularize lands in his company’s favour but they refused as it was against rules.
The health minister was a close confidant of the Chief Minister during the struggle for separate statehood and even during the first term of the TRS government. Known for his proximity with Harish Rao, the health minister had fallen out of the CM’s camp after his controversial remarks that the party did not belong to any individual. Sources said the relationship deteriorated particularly after a section of the ruling party made serious attempts to install KCR’s son and Minister KT Rama Rao as Chief Minister.
The flashpoint, the insiders say, was candid remarks made by the health minister in the past few days with regard to the failure of the health care system to handle the Covid pandemic. At a time when Chief Minister and son and minister K.T. Rama Rao were in isolation after getting infected, the health minister shot into the limelight. Though he primarily attacked the Centre, he had to inadvertently admit the flaws in the state also....