Ex-Andhra intelligence chief AB Venkateshwara Rao’s suspension upheld by tribunal

Updated on Mar 18, 2020 07:33 AM IST

The CAT directed that the state government could go ahead with its investigation into the charges against AB Venkateshwara Rao. It asked the IPS officer to approach the Centre if he had any grievance.

The Jagan Reddy government suspended senior IPS officer AB Venkateshwara Rao on February 8 on the charges of misconduct.(Sourced)
The Jagan Reddy government suspended senior IPS officer AB Venkateshwara Rao on February 8 on the charges of misconduct.(Sourced)
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad | By

The Central Administrative Tribunal on Tuesday endorsed the suspension of senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and former intelligence chief of Andhra Pradesh AB Venkateshwara Rao by the Jagan Reddy government for alleged irregularities in procurement of security equipment from an Israeli company during the previous Telugu Desam Party regime.

The CAT bench at Hyderabad headed by Justice L Narasimha Reddy dismissed the petition of the 1989-batch IPS officer of Director General of Police (DGP) rank challenging his suspension by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government.

The CAT directed that the state government could go ahead with its investigation into the charges against Rao. It asked the IPS officer to approach the Centre if he had any grievance.

The YSRCP government suspended Rao on February 8 on the charges of misconduct. An official note from the chief minister’s office said then that Rao had colluded with an Israeli defence equipment manufacturing firm RT Inflatables Pvt Ltd to illegally award critical Intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, who is CEO of Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd.

“This proves a direct correlation between Rao and a foreign defence manufacturing firm, thereby establishing a direct breach of ethical code of conduct and All India service rules,” the official note said, quoting the inquiry report.

The inquiry further revealed that Rao had wilfully disclosed intelligence protocols and procedures of police to the foreign Defence manufacturing firm, which was a direct threat to national security as intelligence protocols are standard throughout the Indian Police Force.

Rao challenged his suspension by filing a petition in the CAT on February 13. He contended that the suspension was politically motivated and was done based on frivolous grounds.

He pointed out that he had been kept in waiting without being given any post since May 31 (a day after YSR Congress Party president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy took over as the chief minister) and was not being paid his salary since then. He requested that the CAT strike down his suspension orders and restore his job.

On March 7, the Union ministry of home affairs also approved the suspension of Venkateshwara Rao. An MHA official said the state government could proceed with the investigation and file a charge sheet against the officer latest by April 7.

The MHA official said the ministry had noted the allegations made against Rao in the preliminary inquiry report that he had committed irregularities in the procurement of aerostat and unmanned aerial vehicle at a cost of Rs 25.50 crore under the modernisation of police forces scheme during 2017-18.

Rao, who was intelligence chief during the Chandrababu Naidu regime, was shifted from the post by the Election Commission of India following complaints from YSR Congress Party leaders during the general elections in April 2019. He was later posted as DGP of Anti-Corruption Bureau.

However, after Jagan came to power in May 2019, Rao was attached to the headquarters without being given any posting.

Rao could not be reached for his comments on CAT order. However, after the MHA order on March 7, he said there was nothing for him to worry, as the Centre had given time to file to the state to charge sheet till April 7, indicating that he would take a call on his future course of action after April 7.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    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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