Telangana

Congress leaders placed under house arrest in Telangana ahead of a dharna to protest against an alleged land scam

Published : July 19, 2021 18:54 IST

Revanth Reddy, president, TPCC, during a press conference at Gandhi Bavan in Hyderabad July 17. Photo: G. RAMAKRISHNA

In a move that political pundits call a gross overreaction, the ruling dispensation in Telangana has placed several opposition leaders, including A. Revanth Reddy, president, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), under house arrest in the early hours of July 19.

In a move that political pundits call a gross overreaction, the ruling dispensation in Telangana has placed several opposition leaders, including A. Revanth Reddy, president, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), under house arrest in the early hours of July 19.

Other Congress leaders who have been detained are R. Damodar Reddy, former Minister; Vinod Reddy, general secretary, TPCC; M. Anil Kumar Yadav, national general secretary, All India Youth Congress; and Balmoor Venkat, state president, National Student Union of India.

The detention of the Congress leaders comes in the wake of allegations made by Revanth Reddy and other Congress leaders that the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana government indulged in irregularities to the tune of Rs.1,000 crore in the recently held e-auction of lands at Kokapet. It is an allegation that the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) has strongly denied. The Telangana Congress had called for a dharna at Kokapet on July 19 and several Congress leaders were on their way to take part in it. Sources in the Telangana Police Department told Frontline that the Congress leaders were “placed under house arrest to maintain law and order”.

Revanth Reddy, who is also the Congress Lok Sabha member from the Malkajgiri constituency, put out a tweet saying: “Fearing I will take up the Kokapet lands sale scam in the parliament, Police at the instance of CM and DGP prevented me from attending the parliament session. This is violation of my parliamentary privileges as an MP. No matter what @inctelangana will bring truth to light.” He was about to leave for New Delhi to attend the Parliamentary session that started July 19.

The newly appointed TPCC president has claimed that the Telangana government “had sold some properties, over 50 acres of land, to some of their relatives, party leaders and IAS officers at (an) undervalued (rate)”. He has also alleged that the State government placed him under house arrest because it was afraid that he would lodge a complaint with the Prime Minister, the Home Minister and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) over the alleged irregularities and raise it on the floor of the Parliament. Revanth Reddy has also urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to intervene and restore his parliamentary privileges as a Member of Parliament.

The house arrests have been condemned by senior Congress leaders including Shabbir Ali, vice president, TPCC, and Vem Narender Reddy, both of whom have termed it “an autocratic way of stifling voices”. The Congress has alleged that the house arrests were part of the Telangana government’s plan to thwart Revanth Reddy from registering a complaint with the Union Home Ministry on the irregularities in which scores of higher officials were involved.

Reacting to the Congress’ allegation that police personnel had prevented Revanth Reddy from proceeding to New Delhi to attend Parliament, M. Sudarshan, Banjara Hills Assistant Commissioner of Police, said that the police had not prevented Revanth Reddy from going to the Parliament and that they had only informed him that he could not visit Kokapet for the Congress’ planned protest.

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