With the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordering a probe into the alleged illegal expansion of a farmhouse allegedly linked to Telangana Minister KT Rama Rao, the senior Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader on Saturday reiterated that he does not own the property.
KTR, who is the son of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, tweeted that he will seek legal remedies by exposing false allegations.
"The NGT case filed against me by a Congressman is a deliberate personal vilification campaign based on utter false statements. It remains a fact that I don't own the property as clarified by me earlier, I will seek appropriate legal remedies by exposing falsehood of allegations," the minister for Industry, Information Technology and Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) tweeted.
The NGT ordered the probe after hearing a petition filed by Congress MP Anumula Revanth Reddy alleging that KTR, who is also the working president of the ruling TRS, expanded the farmhouse by "violating the environmental laws."
The bench has asked the minister, the Telangana government, the state pollution control board and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) to reply to its notice by August 26.
It also formed a committee, comprising a senior officer from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, the Chennai District Collector, the Pollution Control Board, Commissioner and others.
The committee has been asked to inspect the area and submit a factual and action-taken report if there is any violation in two months.
In the petition, Revanth Reddy alleged illegal construction in the bio-conservations zone in the catchment area of Osmansagar lake. Revanth Reddy also alleged that the minister's act was likely to affect the water storage capacity of Osmansagar and Himayatsagar Lakes.
The Congress demanded that KTR step aside as minister following the NGT's order.
"Since the National Green Tribunal gave an order that inquiry be conducted by officials of your department, I submit that it would be morally appropriate to step aside. Congress party demands that KT Rama Rao step aside as minister since an impartial inquiry would not be possible," state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy told reporters in Hyderabad.
Meanwhile, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) has backed KTR.
"We are with you KTR. Continue to do the good work. Political detractors are frustrated because you have been a successful minister," tweeted AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
With PTI and IANS inputs