April 14, 2024


Hyderabad:

The snooping case that has erupted in Telangana – which could become a big issue in next month’s Lok Sabha election – witnessed further revelations after one of the arrested police officers – Radhakrishna Rao – claimed cash was moved in official vehicles in the 2018 and 2023 Assembly polls.

According to the remand report filed by the police, the arrested police officer said Praneeth Rao, Bhujanga Rao, Tirupatanna, and Venugopal Rao conspired under the leadership of then State Intelligence Bureau chief T Prabhakar Rao, to ensure the BRS remains in power in Telangana.

Radhakrisha Rao reportedly gave the Dubbak and Munugode by-polls as examples.

He said Rs 3.5 crore had been confiscated from people linked to Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy ahead of the latter election. Mr Reddy contested the 2022 by-poll on a BJP ticket. He lost to the BRS’ Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy, but jumped to the Congress for the 2023 election and won the seat.

The Dubbak by-poll in 2020 saw the BJP’s Raghunandan Rao beat the BRS’ Solipeta Reddy. According to Radhakrishna Rao, Rs 1 crore was seized from a person running a chit fund company linked to the BJP leader based on intercepted calls. In 2023 he lost the seat to the BRS’ Kotha Prabhakar Reddy.

The arrested police officer, Radhakrishna Rao, said “officials involved spoke about ensuring BRS (earlier called Telangana Rashtra Samithi) continued in power”.

Mr Rao was Deputy Commissioner of Police in the city task force. He had managed to get two extensions for three years each from August 2020 when he retired.

He was, however, moved prior to elections on the complaint and recommendation of Sandeep Shandilya, who was appointed as Hyderabad Police Commissioner when the Model Code of Conduct was in operation prior to the Assembly election.

T Prabhakar Rao has been named as the primary accused and faces a look-out notice. He is presently in the United States, but sources told NDTV he is expected to join the investigation soon.

Mr Rao, who was also earlier Chief Security Officer to the former Chief Minister – K Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR, reportedly told investigating authorities he acted on Prabhakar Rao’s instructions.

Radhakrishna Rao was arrested – he too had faced a look-out notice – after being questioned at a police station in Hyderabad’s Banjara Hills.

In the remand report presented by the authorities, Mr Rao provided examples of specific seizures and, significantly, claimed he had spied on opposition leaders on the orders of a member of KCR’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi, which has dominated Telangana politics since the state was formed in 2014.

The BRS, however, was beaten by the Congress in last year’s Assembly election.

The Telangana phone-tapping case involves gathering electronic data not just for political intelligence, but to blackmail leaders, and even private companies and Tollywood celebrities.

Congress leader N Uttam Kumar Reddy told NDTV all this happened with the knowledge of the leadership of the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government. “It is only a matter of time before they (BRS) leaders come under the ambit of the investigation,” Mr Reddy said.

Several other Telangana police officers are being investigated in connection with this case.

The list of individuals whose devices were reportedly monitored include Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, and members of the BJP and Congress, as well as those from KCR’s party.

Sources have said over one lakh phone calls were tapped.

Meanwhile, earlier today a Congress leader from Telangana’s Sircilla, KK Mahender Reddy, complained to Hyderabad top cop. He said he suspected his phone, and that of family members and associates, had been tapped. He asked the cops to issue a notice and question former minister and top BRS leader KT Rama Rao, who won the Assembly election from the region.



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