Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has said he is unaware of allegations about Rajat Kumar IAS, a top bureaucrat in his government, that were revealed in an investigation on The News Minute last week. Rajat Kumar is the Special Chief Secretary in the Irrigation and Command Area Development Department. In our investigation, TNM found that Rajat Kumar’s daughter’s wedding was planned and executed by Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited — a company that has won several big contracts in the Rs 1.15 lakh crore Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, which is overseen by the Irrigation department under Rajat Kumar. The wedding was also partly sponsored by a shell company, whose invoices were coordinated by MEIL. Chief Minister KCR, who has now claimed he is unaware of the allegations and said, “Some dog must have said so.” KCR holds the irrigation portfolio for the state.
CM KCR was addressing a press meet in response to the Union Budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament. After the press conference, while taking questions from journalists, CM KCR was asked about allegations raised against Rajat Kumar. Responding to the question, the CM said, “I am unaware about the allegations. Some dog must have said so. If a dog barks in the market will we take notice? If someone submits in writing and has pakka evidence then let's talk. We don't take "kshudra niti" (trivial politics) of social media seriously and we don't pay much attention to all that." Highly placed sources however tell TNM that the Chief Minister is very much aware of the allegations, so his crass dismissal of the same in a press meet, without an acknowledgement, only raises further questions: Is the Chief Minister condoning corruption in his government? Or is he so rattled that he has decided to hide behind coarse comments?
While the Chief Minister has a penchant for calling critics “dogs”, it is surprising that he is unaware of what is happening in a department that is directly under his control. TNM has reached out to Rajat Kumar multiple times for a reaction on the investigation. We also reached out to KTR, a senior minister in the Telangana Cabinet who also happens to be the CM’s son for a reaction, however he did not respond to TNM.
TNM also reached out to the Chief Minister’s Office to enquire if a probe would be ordered against Rajat Kumar IAS. Highly placed sources told TNM that the CM had asked for clippings of all newspapers that had carried the article. However, the CMO did not share any official reaction.
Beyond the communication from The News Minute, the investigation has been quoted by Telangana Opposition Leader Revanth Reddy in an open letter to the Chief Minister himself. Demanding a high-level judicial probe against Rajat Kumar IAS to ascertain the nexus between Rajat Kumar and MEIL, Revanth Reddy said, “It must be clarified whether Rajat Kumar took favours by making the MEIL or its shell companies or other companies pay his private bills?”
“Even if the allegations are false, the Chief Minister must ask Rajat Sharma to reveal the sources of money used to pay the exorbitant bills? If the allegations are true then a case of corruption should be booked against Rajat Kumar and other officials involved in the wedding planning,” Revanth wrote in the open letter. Other opposition leaders including RS Praveen Kumar of the BSP, Sravan Dasoju of the Congress and Murlidhar Rao of the BJP have also raised the issue of corruption allegations against Rajat Kumar.
Is the Chief Minister unaware of these developments in his state as well, including a letter from the opposition leader?
The investigation by TNM revealed that a mystery company called BigWave Infra Private Limited was billed at least Rs 23 lakh to the Taj Group of Hotels for Rajat Kumar’s daughter’s wedding in December 2021. Further, the wedding gala was coordinated by MEIL — a high profile company with several government contracts. The invoices for BigWave were routed through MEIL executives, raising questions about whether BigWave is a shell company with connections to MEIL.
Read the full investigation here: Exclusive: Top Telangana bureaucrat’s daughter’s wedding gala sponsored by mystery company?
This is not the first time that Chief Minister KCR has compared critics and detractors to “dogs”. On February 10, 2021, while addressing a public meeting in Nagarjuna Sagar, he lost his cool when he was interrupted during his speech by some youth and women who allegedly tried to create a commotion by holding up some papers. “..No one will be disturbed by your antics. There are several dogs like you. If we are determined, there will not be any trace of you. You will become dust," an annoyed KCR was seen saying on video.
In the same meeting, he also referred to the Congress and the BJP as dogs and vultures. Besides these, CM KCR often has also referred to BJP leaders as barking dogs.