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Fresh probe against former Telangana health minister over allegations of encroaching temple land

Dismissing the allegations, Rajender told The Indian Express he will challenge the inquiry in court. ``These are all baseless allegations. I have not been given even one opportunity to defend myself. I will challenge these inquiries in court,'' he said.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
Updated: May 4, 2021 3:02:35 am
Etela Rajender. (Photo: ANI)

Days after he was dropped from the Cabinet, the Telangana Government has ordered another inquiry against former health minister Etela Rajender following allegations that he had encroached lands belonging to a temple near his farmhouse in Shamirpet on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

Rajender, who was sacked by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao last Saturday, is already facing a probe over allegations of land grabbing in Medak district. The fresh inquiry is related to the alleged encroachment of hundreds of acres of land “worth more than Rs 1,000 crore” in Shamirpet area.

“Government has received several complaints about large scale encroachments and illegal transactions of lands belonging to Sri Seetha Rama Swamy temple located at Devarayamjal village, Shamirpet Mandal, Medchal-Malkajgiri District. The Endowment Department is claiming that an extent of 1521 acres 13 guntas belongs to the said temple,” stated a Government Order issued by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar.

The GO stated that it has been reported that the said temple’s lands have been encroached by Etela Rajender and a few other individuals and that they unlawfully occupied the lands. “It has been reported that the value of encroached land is more than Rs 1,000 crores and the temple has been defrauded of such high-value properties. Large constructions have been made on these lands without any valid permission and in flagrant violation of several laws,” the GO read.

“Government, after careful examination of the above issues, hereby orders a detailed probe into this issue by a Committee of Officers,” it added.

The committee will be headed by M Raghunandan Rao, Commissioner, Panchayati Raj and Rural Development. And Nalgonda District Collector Prasanth Jeevan Patil, Mancherial District Collector Bharati Hollikari, and Medchal-Malkajgiri District Collector Swetha Mohanty are members.

Dismissing the allegations, Rajender told The Indian Express he will challenge the inquiry in court. “These are all baseless allegations. I have not been given even one opportunity to defend myself. I will challenge these inquiries in court,” he said.

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