Former Andhra minister Shankar Rao admitted to hospital

Hyderabad, Feb 1 (IANS) Former Andhra Pradesh minister and ruling Congress legislator Shankar Rao was admitted to hospital here after he was detained by police for questioning in a land grabbing case.

Rao was picked up by police from his residence Thursday evening amid high drama. He was shifted to the government-run Gandhi Hospital after he complained of chest pain at Neredmet police station in Secunderabad.

As Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, several ministers and Dalit organisations strongly condemned the manner in which Rao was picked up, police officials clarified that he was not arrested and was free to go anywhere from the hospital.

Rao's family members Thursday night shifted him to a corporate hospital. Doctors Friday morning said the condition of 65-year-old Rao was stable but he would remain under observation for 24 hours. According to them, Rao might have suffered brain damage due to hypertension and high blood pressure.

Rao's father-in-law and former union minister G. Venkatswamy, revolutionary balladeer Gaddar and several others rushed to the hospital. They condemned the police action. Venkatswamy said police misbehaved with Rao and pulled him into a vehicle, not allowing him to even change his clothes.

Rao's brother-in-law and Congress MP G. Vivek alleged that Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was targeting him as he had approached the court seeking a probe against the chief minister in the red sandalwood (red sanders) scam.

The controversial leader had undergone bypass surgery in November last year after he fainted during a protest at the office of the director general of police. He was protesting against police searching his house. Rao had allegedly gone into hiding in October when police went to his house to pick him up for questioning.

Rao, a member of state assembly from Secunderabad (Cantonment) in the state capital, is a bitter critic of the chief minister.

He was dropped from the state cabinet in January last year. He had embarrassed the government by filing a petition in the high court seeking a probe into allegations of corruption against Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy.

Some residents of Greenfield Colony on the city's outskirts had lodged a police complaint against Rao and his brother Dayanand in 2011. The police had booked them for cheating and forgery.

It was on a letter by Rao that the high court had ordered a probe by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against YSR Congress party leader Jaganmohan Reddy, which finally led to Reddy's arrest in May last year.

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