Fresh probe against Etela Rajender over allegations of encroaching temple land

Kriti Agrawal

Following allegations that he had encroached on lands belonging to a temple near his farmhouse in Shamirpet, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, the Telangana Government has ordered another inquiry into former Health Minister Etela Rajender.

Rajender, who was fired by Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao last Saturday, is already under investigation for alleged land grabbing in Medak district.

The new investigation is linked to the suspected encroachment of hundreds of acres of land in the Shamirpet area worth more than Rs 1,000 crore.

Government Order released by Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar stated that, “The government has received several complaints about large-scale encroachments and illegal transactions involving lands belonging to the Sri Seetha Rama Swamy temple in Devarayamjal village, Shamirpet Mandal, Medchal-Malkajgiri District. The Endowment Department claims that the temple owns 1521 acres 13 guntas.”

The GO claimed that it has been confirmed that the lands of the said temple have been encroached upon by Etela Rajender and a few other individuals, who have illegally occupied the lands.

GO said, “It has been claimed that the encroached land is worth more than Rs 1,000 crores, and the temple has been defrauded of such valuable properties. Large structures have been built on these lands without legitimate permission and in flagrant violation of many laws.”

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

M Raghunandan Rao, Commissioner for Panchayati Raj and Rural Development, will head the committee. Members of the committee include Nalgonda District Collector Prasanth Jeevan Patil, Mancherial District Collector Bharati Hollikari, and Medchal-Malkajgiri District Collector Swetha Mohanty.

Rajender, who denied the charges, told that he would contest the investigation in court. He said, “These are all baseless allegations. I have not been given even one opportunity to defend myself. I will challenge these inquiries in court.”