Phone tapping: BRS govt snooped on Congress, BJP funders

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Phone tapping: BRS govt snooped on Congress, BJP funders

Hyderabad: In a new twist to the phone-tapping row in Telangana, two police officers arrested in the case have alleged that the previous BRS government snooped on the funders of opposition Congress and BJP.

The police officers, in their reported confession statements, revealed that the entire phone-tapping operation was orchestrated to monitor the political rivals to ensure that Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) win the third consecutive Assembly election (held in November 2023).

Day after former Deputy Commissioner of Police P. Radha Kishan Rao’s sensational confession, the statements of two more police officers surfaced on Tuesday, throwing fresh allegations against the previous government headed by K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR).

Additional Superintendent of Police Bhujanga Rao and Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Tirupathanna revealed how the special team in the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) conducted the operation, targeting leaders of Congress, BJP, dissidents within BRS and also businesspersons funding the opposition parties.

They also provided details of how the information gathered from phone tapping was used to track and seize money from those close to the leaders of Congress and BJP during the elections.

The two officials, who had earlier served in SIB, also alleged that at the instance of BRS leaders, disputes between companies, businesspersons and VIPs were settled. Phones of opposition leaders, their family members, student leaders and journalists were tapped.

Phones of Congress and BRS supporters were also tapped during elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation, and by-elections to Dubbaka, Huzurabad and Munugode Assembly seats.

The political information was provided to the team tasked with phone tapping by then SIB chief Prabhakar Rao, journalist Sravan Kumar and another private person.

A plan was prepared to somehow make it sure that BRS wins a third term in power.

Huge funds were also allegedly mobilised from two private hospitals. Businesspersons were also arm-twisted to purchase electoral bonds. Those refusing to fall in line were threatened with criminal cases. Realtor Sridhar Rao was made to purchase electoral bonds to the tune of Rs 13 crore.

During the recent Assembly elections, a special team operated in the Kamareddy constituency where KCR was in the fray. Tirupathanna alleged that the BRS government used the anti-terror agency to track political opponents including BJP candidate K. V. Ramana Reddy and present Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy’s brother Kondal Reddy.

Counter-intelligence agents were deployed as part of the plan to check Congress and BRS candidates.

However, in a big upset both KCR and Revanth Reddy had lost to the BJP candidate in Kamareddy.

The cops also alleged that phone calls of those who criticised the BRS leader and then minister K. T. Rama Rao over question paper leakage in Telangana State Public Service Commission. Their details were forwarded to Praneeth Rao, who was heading the team in SIB.

Tirupathanna allegedly revealed that on the direction of SIB DSP Praneeth Rao and Bhujanga Rao, he along with others tracked the movements of political opponents of BRS during the polls and seized money from them. His team had two circle inspectors and 20 constables to execute the plans. He also revealed that every day they were tapping the phones of 40 people.

A specialised WhatsApp group was formed, comprising members of the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), focused on anti-Naxal operations, and the Counter Intelligence (CI) cell.

Another WhatsApp group named “Poll 2023” was established to track and seize the money from the funders of the Congress party.

In Kollur, Rs 90 lakh was seized from Revanth Reddy’s friend Gali Anil Kumar. Similarly, Rs 1.95 crore was seized from Revanth Reddy’s another friend K. Vinay Reddy.

The team also seized Rs 10.5 crore cash from Raghava Infra of Congress leader Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy, who is now a minister.

The official revealed that Rs 3 crore was seized from Venu, a friend of Congress candidate Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy.

The Tirupatanna team also seized Rs 50.45 lakh from Visaka Industries of Congress leader Gaddam Vinod. It also seized Rs 35 lakh from Giridhar, a friend of Congress leader Uttam Kumar Reddy, who is now a minister

The team also seized Rs 90 lakh from Congress leader Jhansi Reddy and Rs 10 lakh from another friend of Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy.

Tirupatanna alleged that the phones of 300 people were tapped. With the BRS losing power to Congress, he destroyed data in three computers and nine loggers.

The disclosures by two police officers came a day after a confession by former Deputy Commissioner of Police P. Radha Kishan Rao.

He claimed that KCR wanted to arrest BJP National General Secretary B. L. Santosh in BRS MLAs poaching case to force a compromise and get rid of the Enforcement Directorate case against his daughter K. Kavitha.

The former cop revealed that in the last week of October 2022, then SIB chief Prabhakar Rao discussed with him that CM KCR got information from one MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy that some persons claiming to be influential in BJP are in touch with him asking him to leave BRS and join BJP along with some more MLAs.

KCR wanted to use it to corner the BJP and he asked the SIB to put surveillance on those private persons and the MLA. As per the plan, the MLA enticed the private persons to come to a farmhouse near Moinabad, where spy cameras were fixed.

Radha Kishan Rao revealed that due to the inefficiency of some Cyberabad police officers, KCR did not succeed in its plan to arrest Santosh so that BJP would come for a compromise and it could be used to get rid of the ED case against Kavitha.

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

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.

 


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