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Telangana ex-cop makes sensational revelations in phone tapping case

27 May, 2024 23:45 IST|Sakshi Post

Hyderabad, May 27 (IANS) Several opposition leaders, including then Congress MP and present Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy, dissidents within the then ruling party, businesspersons, and journalists were among the targets of phone tapping under the previous BRS government in the state, a former state police officer and accused in the snooping case, has revealed.

Former Deputy Commissioner of Police P Radha Kishan Rao made some sensational disclosures in his reported confession before the investigating officials.

He claimed T. Prabhakar Rao, then chief of the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), was in charge of the entire operation aimed at gathering data on anyone who seemed to be a threat to the then Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government led by K. Chandrasekhar Rao. The operation was also conducted before the November 2023 Assembly elections and a tab was also put on the dissidents within the then ruling party.

The phone tapping and snooping row came to light after the BRS lost power to Congress and an official in the SIB, who was part of the operation, was found destroying the collected data.

Radha Kishan Rao, who was arrested in March, revealed the details of the operation during his confession statement in April.

He revealed that once an individual was flagged, the SIB's deputy chief, Praneeth Kumar, was reportedly tasked with creating profiles to neutralise potential threats to the government.

The former police official reportedly revealed that the operation not only targeted politicians but also snooped on businesspersons in real estate and construction sectors to know their affiliations.

As political leaders, bureaucrats, members of the judiciary, and others avoided direct phone calls following rumours of phone tapping and, instead, used encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp, Snapchat and Signal, Prabhakar Rao and his group allegedly tracked communications over internet calls by acquiring and examining Internet Protocol Data Records (IPDRs).

The ex-DCP also claimed that iNews journalist Sravan Kumar had a meeting with Prabhakar Rao allegedly at the request of then-minister and senior BRS leader T. Harish Rao. Sravan Kumar allegedly sent information about opposition leaders and their financial backers to the Intelligence Bureau and the same was used to target rivals during a cash seizure operation.

He alleged cash had been moved in official vehicles in the 2018 and 2023 Assembly polls, and gave the Munugode bypoll as an example. He claimed Rs. 3.5 crore had been confiscated from people linked to Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, who contested the bypoll on a BJP ticket.

Sravan Kumar allegedly assisted Praneeth Kumar's team in online trolling campaigns against critics of the BRS.

Radha Kishan Rao revealed that the SIB was also used to keep a tab on BRS leaders like MLC Shambipur Raju, who had a conflict with the then Qutbullapur MLA, former Deputy Chief Minister T. Rajaiah who was unhappy with another former Deputy Chief Minister and senior leader Kadiyam Srihari, former minister Patnam Mahender Reddy and his wife, who had a difference with the then Tandur MLA and former MLA Teegala Krishna Reddy.

Revanth Reddy, his family members, retired IPS officer and then BSP state President R.S. Praveen Kumar, Teenmaar Mallanna, BJP leaders Eatala Rajender, Bandi Sanjay, D. Arvind and media personalities NTV's Narendra Chowdary and ABN's Radhakrishna were among those whose phones were allegedly tapped.

The surveillance also extended to opposition candidates like Raghuveer, son of former minister Jana Reddy of Nagarjunasagar, Saritha Thirupathaiah of Gadwal, Juvvadi Narsinga Rao of Korutla, and Vamshi Krishna of Achampet.

A court earlier this month dismissed the bail petition of Radha Kishan Rao, who had also served as the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in the Task Force.

Radha Kishan Rao was arrested as a conspirator along with other suspended police officials D. Praneeth Rao, Bhujanga Rao, and Thirupathanna.

The phone tapping came to light in March when a case was registered with the Panjagutta police after a petition was filed by Additional SP, SIB, D. Ramesh.

Prabhakar Rao had allegedly constituted a team within SIB with his trusted aides including DSP D. Praneeth Rao for surveillance of rival political leaders and their families and dissidents within the ruling party. Praneeth Rao was arrested after he allegedly destroyed hard disks and other data when the Congress came to power.

Bhujanga Rao, Additional Superintendent of Police in Bhupalpally district and Tirupathanna, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, City Security Wing, Hyderabad City Police were arrested on March 23. They had also served in the SIB.

A city court on May 10 issued an arrest warrant against SIB chief Prabhakar Rao, the prime suspect in the phone tapping case. The Nampally Metropolitan Magistrate also issued an arrest warrant against Sravan Kumar. Both are believed to be in the US.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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