Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR as he is known, has taken away the portfolio of the state’s Health Minister after allegations of land grab emerged against the latter. Eatala Rajender’s portfolio of Medical, Health and Family Welfare has been transferred to the Chief Minister after the Governor approved Mr Rao’s request.
A statement from Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan’s office reads: “On the advice of the Chief Minister of Telangana, the Governor has approved the transfer of the Medical, Health Welfare portfolio from Eatala Rajender to the Chief Minister with immediate effect.”
Ordering a probe into allegations of land grab in Medak district, Mr Rao instructed the Chief Secretary to get an investigation done by the district collector on the complaints of encroachments of land on the outskirts of Achampet in Masaipet Mandal in Medak, get a comprehensive report and submit it to him.
KCR’s move comes after a few farmers reportedly complained to him that Mr Rajender had grabbed nearly 100 acres of assigned land in the vicinity of his poultry farm, Jamuna Hatcheries. A few local TV channels too carried a report.
The Chief Minister also instructed senior police officer Purnachandra Rao to find out the facts. The vigilance team has begun the probe with digital surveys being conducted in the area.
Though Mr Rao has not mentioned Mr Rajender in his order for a probe, Eatala Rajender, before his portfolio was taken away, called it a “pre-planned conspiracy” to defame him. He demanded a probe by a sitting judge. His supporters held a protest by blocking a national highway.
Mr Rajender said he had informed the Chief Minister and his Principal Secretary, Narsing Rao, about his plans to expand his poultry farm. He said the land was not being used for farming and that farmers had voluntarily surrendered the land after he explained his purpose. The land has reportedly not yet been transferred in the name of the poultry farm.
There have been indications in the past that KCR and Mr Rajender have political differences though nothing was ever out in the open.
Eatala Rajender, an MLA from the Huzurabad assembly seat, is from the politically significant Mudiraj community.
Congress spokesperson Sravan Kumar Sadoju said Mr Rajender was being targeted as he belongs to the Backward Classes community.BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said it has once again been proven that KCR heads a “corrupt” government.
Eatala is the second Health Minister to be sacked unceremoniously by KCR. In his first term, MLA T Rajaiah who served as the Deputy Chief Minister and Health Minister was also sacked following allegations of corruption.
Eatala was appointed as the Health Minister in 2019. He was the Finance Minister in TRS’s first term in power between 2014 and 2018.