BRS phone tapping case: Three ex-cops admit carrying money in govt vehicles, says probe | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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BRS phone tapping case: Three ex-cops admit carrying money in govt vehicles, says probe

By, Hyderabad
Apr 14, 2024 05:10 AM IST

The officers, who had worked in the Telangana special intelligence bureau (SIB), have given statements to Hyderabad police probing the tapping case.

The investigation by Telangana police into the alleged snooping on the some political leaders by the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi government have revealed that the special intelligence bureau (SIB) had also seized cash pertaining to other political parties and illegally transported money belonging to the BRS in police vehicles, a remand report submitted by the Hyderabad police before the Nampally criminal courts has claimed.

Three police officers, who had worked in the Telangana state intelligence bureau SIB, have given statements to Hyderabad police probing the telephone tapping case. (Representational image)
Three police officers, who had worked in the Telangana state intelligence bureau SIB, have given statements to Hyderabad police probing the telephone tapping case. (Representational image)

Also Read | ‘Speaking like an unbridled bull’: Revanth Reddy reacts to KTR's 'phone-tapping' remark

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Three police officers, who had worked in the SIB, have given statements to Hyderabad police probing the telephone tapping case. They allegedly admitted during interrogation that they carried out unauthorised surveillance on political leaders, seized of cash pertaining to other political parties and transported cash in government vehicles before the November 30 assembly elections, people familiar with the development said, seeking anonymity.

The three officers – inspector Gundu Venkat Rao who earlier worked in the SIB, inspector of task force Kanumarla Srikanth and sub-inspector of task force Sara Sai Kiran – in their separate statements allegedly confessed that they had acted at the directions of former SIB chief T Prabhakar Rao, who is absconding; retired deputy commissioner of police and officer on special duty, task force, P Radha Kishan Rao' and the then deputy superintendent of police in SIB, D Praneeth Kumar.

The last two officers were arrested in March and are now in judicial custody.

Also Read | Suspended Hyderabad DSP held in phone-tapping case

The statements of three police officers were part of the remand report submitted by Hyderabad police before the Nampally criminal court on March 29. The fresh contents of the remand report came to light on Friday.

In the second week of October, Srikanth and his team seized 3.35 crore from two persons – Hanumanth Reddy and Prabhakar, associates of a realtor Mahesh Reddy of AMR Infra at Banjara Hills, as per instructions of Prabhakar Rao and Kumar, who obtained specific inputs through tapping phones.

In a similar manner, Srikanth and team seized 22 lakh from G Raj Kumar of Tarnaka, 15 lakh from Gadapa Naresh, 49 lakh from Kazil Maliq at Himayatnagar and 1 crore from Mustafa Khan at Bhavani Nagar based on the inputs given by Prabhakar Rao and Kumar. The teams were run by Radha Kishan Rao, who was then OSD of the task force.

The remand report also said Radha Kishan Rao had deputed his teams to transport cash in vehicles allotted to the task force to help the BRS during the electioneering. Sub-inspector Sai Kiran, who was then in Hyderabad central zone task force, escorted 2 crore in cash in a government-owned Mahindra Bolero from various locations and handed it to Divya Charan Rao, a retired police officer working at Yashoda Hospital in Secunderabad on two occasions – one from Ranigunj and another from Afzalgunj.

Sai Kiran also admitted to have escorted cash belonging to former Indian Administrative Service officer and current BRS legislative council member P Venkat Ram Reddy, who is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Medak parliamentary constituency. Reddy and his brothers are promoters of Rajapushpa Constructions, a real estate firm in Hyderabad.

Sai Kiran said he transported 3 crore on three different occasions and handed the money to Shiva Charan Reddy alias Charan, a neighbour of the BRS MLC, at the instruction of Radha Kishan Rao, who provided him with a new iPhone to handle the clandestine cash transaction.

A day after the BRS lost the elections on December 3, Radha Kishan Rao submitted his resignation, and as part of the conspiracy, he reformatted his two mobile phones to wipe out evidence about the clandestine operations, the remand report said. Police arrested Radha Kishan Rao on March 29, and seized his two cellphones.

Venkat Ram Reddy on Saturday rejected the charges made against him in the remand report. “The state government is leaking the remand reports to the media only to malign my image, as the Congress cannot take on me politically,” he told reporters.

Stating that he had not contested the last assembly elections, the former bureaucrat said he was in no way connected with the telephone tapping. “The ruling Congress is deliberately seeking to tarnish my image as I am contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Medak and going to win the seat,” he said.

The previous team of officials in the SIB led by Prabhakar Rao set up multiple war rooms at different locations in Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy, Khammam, Mahabubnagar and Hyderabad to tap the telephones of several opposition leaders during the BRS regime, a police officer familiar with the investigation said.

“These tapping centres were used to track the movement of the opposition leaders and snoop on their telephone conversations during the election time,” he said, hinting that more arrests could be made in this regard.

The state government should seek a high-level inquiry, if required by the Central Bureau of Investigation, into the alleged phone tapping by the previous BRS government, Bharatiya Janata Party state president G Kishan Reddy demanded.

“There are allegations that the SIB authorities during the BRS regime had tapped phones of big industrialists, traders and even celebrities and extorted big money from some of them,” he said, requesting governor C P Radhakrishnanintervene in the matter and get an inquiry done into the case.

BJP leaders are also suspecting that the BRS government had come out with the allegations of poaching of its four MLAs by the saffron outfit in October 2022 only after tapping their phones. “There are suspicions that the BRS government had tapped the phones of even top BJP leaders like B L Santosh. It requires a comprehensive probe by the CBI,” BJP leader K Laxman said.

Meanwhile, Hyderabad-based lawyer U V Suresh Kumar has filed a petition with the Enforcement Directorate, seeking a probe into the telephone tapping case, as it involved money laundering on a big scale. “The SIB authorities during the previous BRS regime indulged in extortion of money from various real estate firms, infrastructure companies and individuals by tapping their phones,” Kumar said. “The ED should probe into that angle.”Senior Congress legislator and government whip Adi Srinivas said the SIB authorities during the previous BRS government had tapped telephones of not only the opposition leaders, but also private individuals and businessmen. “They even tapped my phone and I gave a complaint to this effect much before the assembly elections. We are ready for any lie-detector test. Are the BRS leaders ready?” Srinivas asked.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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