Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender said on Friday that he is ready to face probe by a sitting judge, CBI or any other institution with regard to the allegations of land grabbing levelled against him.
Addressing a news conference a couple of hours after Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao ordered a probe into the allegations of land grabbing levelled by some villagers of Medak district, Rajender demanded the government to order a comprehensive inquiry to bring out the truth.
“Let there be an inquiry by a sitting judge, CBI or any institution into my character and my assets. If I am found guilty, I am ready to face any punishment,” he said.
Rajender also said that self-respect is more important to him than any post. When asked if he would resign as a minister, he said the probe into the allegations against him has to be completed first.
Earlier, the Chief Minister had instructed Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar to get an inquiry done by the district collector on the complaints of encroachment of lands on the outskirts of Achampet in Masaipet Mandal in Medak district.
The CM also instructed Vigilance DGP Purnachandra Rao to find out the truth with regard to the allegations.
The Chief Minister ordered the probe after some farmers in Medak district submitted a complaint to him, alleging that the Health Minister forcibly took over 100 acres of their assigned lands to start a poultry industry.
Eight villagers from Achampet and Hakimpet villages had alleged that the minister and his followers had taken over their lands to start a poultry industry. They sought the intervention of the CM and appealed to him to ensure that the assigned lands given to them by the government are restored to them immediately.
The land grab charge against the Health Minister sent shockwaves in the political circles at a time when the state is in the grip of an intense Covid wave.
This is the first time that a minister in the TRS government faced allegations of land grabbing and the victims directly approached the Chief Minister against the minister following which an inquiry was ordered immediately.
Rajender, however, denied any wrongdoings and alleged that it is a planned attempt for his character assassination. He did not say who is behind this.
He said the people of Telangana have seen his clean image throughout the Telangana movement.
“When hundreds of students of Osmania University and other universities were arrested and we saved them, nobody asked where the money came from. There should also be an inquiry against those who came on a scooter and overnight made hundreds of crores,” he said without naming any leader.
He also alleged that attempts are being made to target him in the name of caste.
The Health Minister said that some people surrendered their 20-25 acres of land to the authorities so that the same could be allotted for the expansion of the Jamuna Hatcheries set up by his son in 2016.
Rajender said since the government was allotting lands and giving subsidies for setting up industries, he too had approached the Secretary in the Chief Minister’s Office, Narsing Rao, to suggest a way out as the lands surrounding the hatchery were assigned lands which nobody could sell or purchase.
He said Narsing Rao had told him that if the owners surrendered the lands to the government, the same could be allotted to the hatchery through the Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC).
The minister said the owners of the assigned lands signed the surrender documents and gave the same to the Mandal Revenue Officer.
“At present the land is with the government. I have not occupied a single acre of assigned land. The allegations against me are false,” he said.
Rajender also claimed that he and his wife had started poultry business in 1986 and they ran the business professionally and with honesty.