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Telangana phone tapping case and Radhakishan Rao testimony

Telangana phone tapping case and Radhakishan Rao testimony

Telangana phone tapping case and Radhakishan Rao testimony, The phone tapping was allegedly carried out with the intention of trapping the BJP. The targets were primarily those who criticized KCR. Surveillance was placed not only on opposition leaders like Revanth Reddy, Eatala Rajender, Bandi Sanjay, and R.S. Praveen Kumar, but also on some members within the ruling party itself. Radha Kishan Rao’s testimony revealed that the surveillance began before the 2018 Assembly elections and continued through the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, subsequent by-elections, and even the 2023 elections.

Surveillance on Political Figures

The operation, led by SIB DSP Praneeth Rao under the direction of SIB IG Prabhakar Rao, involved monitoring the phones of various political leaders. The collected information was frequently shared with the police commissioner. This surveillance aimed at ensuring smooth financial transactions for the ruling party while disrupting those of the opposition.

Monitoring TRS Leaders

Prabhakar Rao regularly discussed the political developments in various constituencies and the threats posed to the TRS with Radha Kishan Rao. They kept Praneeth Rao in the loop, who in turn monitored leaders, including prominent TRS members. Those under surveillance included then PCC President Revanth Reddy, T. Rajaiah, Patnam Mahender Reddy, R.S. Praveen Kumar, Eatala Rajender, Bandi Sanjay, and Raghaveer Reddy, son of Jana Reddy. Businessmen and real estate developers were also monitored.

BJP’s Challenge and KCR’s Strategic Response

Following the BJP’s victories in the Dubbaka and Huzurabad by-elections, KCR took the Munugode by-election very seriously, aiming to halt the BJP’s momentum. Reports emerged that some BJP leaders were attempting to lure Tandur MLA Rohith Reddy into their party. Based on this information, KCR decided to intensify the monitoring efforts.

Praneeth Rao was tasked with overseeing the surveillance, which included tapping phones and creating an audio clip of their conversations for KCR. This clip formed the basis of a strategic plan to corner the BJP. As part of this operation, two swamijis and Nanda, who were involved in enticing MLAs, were brought to a farmhouse in Aziznagar. Task Force CI Srinath Reddy and SI Srikant were sent to Delhi to procure spy cameras, which were then installed in the farmhouse by Task Force officers Ashok Reddy, Mallikarjun, and Srikant.

Execution of the Surveillance Operation

KCR instructed that three MLAs from different communities participate in this operation. The plan was executed successfully, and subsequent actions were taken by the Cyberabad SOT. A SIT was established afterward, with the goal of arresting BJP national leader B.L. Santosh and forcing the BJP to negotiate with KCR. This was partly to shield his daughter Kavitha from ongoing ED investigations.

Hurdles and Judicial Intervention

Despite their efforts, the operation faced setbacks due to the incompetence of some Cyberabad police officers. A key figure associated with the Mata Amritanandamayi organization in Kerala escaped. SP Rema Rajeshwari and SIB CI Gattu Rajamallu’s urgent trip to Kerala proved futile. Subsequently, the High Court issued orders preventing the arrest of B.L. Santosh, and the case was transferred from SIT to CBI. The failure to achieve the intended outcome left KCR frustrated.

Munugode By-Election and Targeted Operations

During the Munugode by-election, the Chief Minister’s office issued directives to seize the money belonging to BJP candidate Rajagopal Reddy and his family. I received their names and phone numbers through the police commissioner. Praneeth Rao assisted in tapping their phones and gathering information. I distinctly remember receiving a handwritten note from the CMO with the names of G. Vivek and Rajagopal Reddy. This list was sent to the SIB to monitor their financial transactions. Praneeth Rao provided information about Eatala Rajender’s PA, Janardhan. Based on this, we seized ₹90 lakhs near Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and handed it over to the Jubilee Hills police. The money was allegedly being sent to Rajagopal Reddy by Eatala.

In October’s second week, following Prabhakar Rao’s instructions, Praneeth Rao provided details that led to Task Force CI T. Srinath Reddy and his team seizing ₹3.5 crores from Rajagopal Reddy’s associates at the Marriott Hotel. This money was handed over to the Gandhinagar police. During the Munugode by-election, KCR directed senior officials in the SIB and surveillance department to ensure the smooth transportation of TRS funds. Under Additional SP Bhujanga Rao’s supervision, the money was transported to Munugode via private vehicles using the ORR. The crucial information provided by Praneeth Rao and our effective coordination helped us disrupt the financial sources of the opposition.

Inside Information from Minister Praneeth Rao

Praneeth Rao, who was initially arrested in the same case, revealed several details in his statement. He mentioned that during the 2023 Assembly elections, Prabhakar Rao summoned him to his residence. Harish Rao, the then-minister, instructed him to meet with iNews MD Shravan Rao, from whom they would receive numerous phone numbers. This information was then passed on to Bhujanga Rao and Radha Kishan Rao for necessary actions. The goal was to gather specific information about the financial supporters of the opposition, including the Congress and BJP, and to intercept their funds.

Despite knowing our actions were illegal, we continued with our operations. To avoid detection, we communicated only via VOIP or WhatsApp. After the recent election defeat of the TRS, we anticipated repercussions. Following Prabhakar Rao’s orders, we destroyed all electronic devices and evidence. With the help of SIB employees, we removed all hard disks and replaced them with new ones, destroying the old ones. Even though we knew this would eliminate crucial information on left-wing extremism collected since the SIB’s inception, we saw no other way to protect ourselves.

Arrests and Surveillance to Curb Opposition

The government at the time employed phone tapping as a strategy to suppress the opposition. KCR sought to appoint a trusted individual from his community as the officer in charge of the critical Hyderabad Task Force division. Following his wishes and Prabhakar Rao’s recommendations, I was appointed as the Task Force DCP. From then on, I began assisting KCR, his family members, and close associates in resolving significant issues, including suppressing civil disputes, controlling those creating problems for the Chief Minister and the TRS, and quelling protests.

Intense Monitoring and Arrests

Following Prabhakar Rao’s orders, we arrested Teenmaar Mallanna in August 2021 under a threat case registered in Chilakalguda, as he was fiercely criticizing KCR, his family, and the government. During the 2021 MLC elections, Mallanna posed a significant challenge. The Chief Minister instructed Prabhakar Rao to keep a constant watch on him. Praneeth Rao continually provided updates about Mallanna. In 2022, based on information from the SIB, Hyderabad city police and CCS officers raided the office of Sunil, who was purchasing for Mallanna. They seized a substantial amount of electronic devices. These actions were widely criticized as illegal raids aimed at gathering crucial information about Congress leaders and disrupting their activities.

Resignations and Aftermath

Following the TRS’s defeat in the 2023 elections, Prabhakar Rao and I resigned. After the phone tapping case was filed and I was arrested, I handed over two phones to the authorities. I erased information from one phone, which contained chats with Prabhakar Rao, Praneeth Rao, Bhujanga Rao, other officials, and private individuals. The other phone, which held precious memories, including photos of my beloved granddaughter, remained intact.

Radha Kishan Rao’s testimony paints a vivid picture of the systematic surveillance and illegal activities undertaken to suppress the opposition and secure TRS interests. The scandal reveals a web of political intrigue and the lengths to which those in power would go to maintain control.

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