Was public money used by KCR to gift jewels to temples? PIL filed in Hyd HC

“Who paid the hundreds of policemen providing security to the VIPs who attended the event?” asks Prof Vishweshwar Rao, who filed the PIL.
Was public money used by KCR to gift jewels to temples? PIL filed in Hyd HC
Was public money used by KCR to gift jewels to temples? PIL filed in Hyd HC
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A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Hyderabad High Court contending that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s spree of gifting gold ornaments to several temples across the two Telugu states was unconstitutional.

The PIL was filed by Professor PL Vishweshwar Rao, who sought to know if the money was being spent from the public exchequer.

Last month, KCR made an offering of a nose stud to the presiding deity at the Kanaka Durga temple in Vijayawada. He was fulfilling his ‘vow’ to present gold ornaments to various gods and goddesses after Telangana achieved statehood.

Speaking to TNM, Prof Rao said, “I wanted to know which department in the state government has sanctioned the money. According to the rules, a Government Order has to be issued for any expenditure of more than Rs 1 lakh and this has to be available in a public domain with all details.”

“No one has the power to sanction several crore rupees of public money, not even the Chief Minister. I also asked for details about which jeweller was assigned the contract for the ornaments and the source of the jewels, especially the diamonds,” he added. 

Rao also pointed out that KCR took his entire family and senior party leaders on the ‘thanksgiving’ trips in choppers and chartered flights, allegedly often on public money.

“It is a personal vow. How is it justified if he uses public money? This is not the first time he has done this either. Even during the ‘Chandi Yagam’, he splurged money from the state exchequer,” Rao claimed.

In December 2015, the chief minister drew flak from several quarters after he conducted a ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam’ to please the gods, even as the state was reeling under a severe agrarian crisis.

However, KCR had claimed that the expenses, which ran up to Rs 6 crore, had been paid by the family, well-wishers and no government money was utilised.

“If no government money was utilised, then who paid the hundreds of policemen providing security to the VIPs who attended the event? These moves by KCR are unconstitutional and anti-secular,” Rao contended in response.

The professor said that a date for the hearing would be finalised soon and added that he would argue his own case in court.

Last year in February, unfazed by criticism, KCR continued his ‘holy’ tour to appease the gods by presenting a gold moustache to Lord Veerabhadra Swamy in Telangana’s Mahabubabad district. The gold moustache cost taxpayers more than Rs. 60,000.

The CM also offered gold ornaments worth Rs 5 crore to Lord Balaji at Tirumala, all allegedly paid for by the state exchequer.

The chief minister, along with his family members, ministers and top officials arrived via two special aircrafts for the ‘thanksgiving’ trip to the Tirumala temple, where he presented the ornaments.

In October 2016, he presented a 11.7 kg gold crown that was worth over Rs 3 crore to Goddess Bhadrakali at Warangal, during the nine-day Dasara festival.

However, Prof Rao is not the first person to move court over KCR’s offerings. In March last year, Professor Kancha Ilaiah and CPI-M leader Gundamala Ramulu had also moved a similar petition.

“Our Constitution does not allow it. The preamble itself mentions that India is a secular country, and this kind of direct spending by the government on a religious cause is a direct violation of the principle of secularism that the country was founded upon,” Professor Ilaiah had told TNM at the time.

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