HYDERABAD:It is not just Deputy Chief Minister T Rajaiah who is under fire from the boss. At least three other ministers — all of them holding key portfolios — have come under Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s scanner.
The Chief Minister’s unhappiness with Rajaiah, both for ineffective functioning of the health ministry and “questionable decisions”, is no longer a secret, though it is still in the realm of speculation if KCR would go so far as to ease him out of the Cabinet. But for the fact that Rajaiah comes from the Dalit community, his exit, sources said, is a foregone conclusion. Even then, once evidence builds up against him, it is more than likely he might be replaced with another from the same community.
According to highly-placed sources, Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting, ostensibly convened to discuss the swine flu threat, was actually intended to send a “stern message” to ministers that they had better behave or be prepared for the worst.
Once official business was done, the Chief Minister made sure that none, other than the ministers, was present and gave a piece of his mind to his colleagues. “I will not hesitate to drop anyone from the Cabinet if information is received about corrupt activities. We are monitoring each and every decision taken at the level of ministers and will not tolerate if they are found to be influenced by personal rather than public interest,” The Chief Minister reportedly told them. Even after officials exit from the Cabinet meeting, low-level staff such as attenders stay put just in case the Chief Minister or ministers require assistance. But on Wednesday, even they were sent out. Without mincing words, KCR was said to have remarked that he would not tolerate any action that would bring disrepute to the TRS government. Armed with intelligence reports, he made specific references to how monetary considerations influenced postings of officials and purchases in some ministries/departments.
In respect of the health department, one allegation pertains to the appointment of personnel to the urban health centres. Breaking away from the convention of a committee, headed by the district collector, deciding on such appointments, the Health Minister sought to carry out the exercise through an “agency” and in a centralised manner.
This gave rise to the suspicion of money coming into play. Likewise, established norms were sought to be given a go-by in the purchase of ambulances. The move was promptly scotched once information filtered in that a private dealer promised commission of `1 lakh per vehicle.
“Money has, of course, not changed hands in a big way but the links and modus operandi were clearly established,” a source said.
Though not on the same scale as with Rajaiah, the Chief Minister is said to be none-too-happy with the functioning of three other ministers.
All of them, incidentally, belong to the Reddy community and the allegations are more or less the same - kickbacks in purchases and transfer of officials, particularly at the district level. All three were told they were under “watch” and should be able to justify their actions, if called into question.