Telangana Pradesh Congress President and Malkajgiri MP Revanth Reddy, on Friday, January 28, demanded a high-level judicial probe against (Irrigation) Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar. The MP demanded that Rajat Kumar be suspended from the posting until the investigation concludes. Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), the construction company that has been given several government contracts, should not be awarded any fresh contract until the probe is completed, Revanth demanded in an open-letter written to the Chief Minister. In an investigation, The News Minute found that MEIL had coordinated and planned the lavish wedding celebrations of Rajat Kumarâ€™s daughter Anjali, which took place in December 2021.
The TNM investigation exposed the nexus between MEIL and Rajat Kumar, the nodal officer for Kaleshwaram Project. MEIL is the construction company entrusted with the prestigious Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, which is estimated to be constructed at a cost of whopping Rs 1.15 lakh crore. The Irrigation and Command Area Development Department, which is headed by Rajat Kumar, monitors the Kaleshwaram project.
The five-day wedding held between December 17-21 was arranged in the posh hotels of Taj Deccan, Taj Banjara and Taj Falaknuma. The bills for these expenses were initially around Rs 50 lakh, and were to be footed by two companies â€“ Interactive Data Systems and BigWave Infra Private Limited. The directors of Interactive Data Systems are on the boards of various MEIL companies. BigWave, however, is a shell company that was created just a few months before the wedding, the investigation by TNMâ€™s Paul Oommen revealed. Later, Interactive Data Systems fell out of the picture and BigWave Infra was instead billed a part of the amountâ€“Rs 23 lakh.
Revanth Reddy questioned the silence of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who is also the Irrigation Minister, in this controversy. It has been 48 hours since the investigative piece was published. The article was published on January 27.
Revanth pointed out that the Irrigation Department is currently held by the Chief Minister. He said that though it has been 48 hours since allegations were leveled against an officer working under him, there is no condemnation or clarification from the Chief Ministerâ€™s Office, which is leading to several suspicions, he said.
â€śThe allegations are highly serious in nature and cannot be ignored. Therefore, I request you to kindly order a judicial probe into the allegations to ascertain the nexus between Rajat Kumar and MEIL. It must be clarified whether Rajat Kumar took favours by making the MEIL or its shell companies or other companies pay his private bills?"
â€śEven 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,â€ť Revanth wrote in the open letter.
The TPCC Chief also demanded that the companies facing corruption allegations should be blacklisted and a probe should be ordered into all the projects executed by them. â€śIf a company is fair, then it will never offer/pay bribes to an IAS officer. Bills for the marriage of the IAS officer's daughter could be paid only by the companies/individuals who received undue favours. Therefore, those 'undue favours' must be exposed,â€ť he demanded.
The Malkajgiri MP asked the CM to not assign any post to Rajat Kumar, and no fresh contracts should be given to MEIL until the preliminary investigation is completed, he demanded.
â€śA high-level probe will show that you have zero tolerance for corruption. However, any move to protect the IAS officer, the MEIL or other companies would send the wrong message that you were aware of their unholy nexus and might also be involved in such deals,â€ť he said.