Two Telangana police officials sent to judicial remand in phonetapping case

Hyderabad, March 24 : A city court on Sunday sent two Telangana police officials to judicial custody for 14 days in phone-tapping and destruction of evidence case.

N Bhujanga Rao, Additional Superintendent of Police in Bhupalpally district and Tirupathanna, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police, City Security Wing, Hyderabad City Police were produced before a magistrate at his residence.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the magistrate sent the two officials to judicial custody till April 6. They were subsequently sent to Chanchalguda Central Jail.

Both the officials were booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant) and section 70 of the Information Technology Act.

The two officials, who had earlier served in Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) Deputy Superintendents of Police, were arrested on Saturday night.

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) has intensified the investigation into the allegations that they tapped phones of opposition leaders on the directions of the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government.

D. Praneeth Rao, DSP of SIB, was suspended and arrested earlier for destroying evidence in a phone tapping case.

During the questioning of Praneeth Rao by the SIT, names of other officers allegedly involved in the case surfaced.

The official was arrested on March 13 for erasing data by destroying 50 hard disks after the defeat of BRS in Assembly elections. He was suspended and a criminal case was registered against him.

Praneeth Rao reportedly told police that he acted on the orders of the then SIB chief Prabhakar Rao.

During the last two days, police teams conducted searches at houses of Prabhakar Rao, Bhuganja Rao, Tirupatanna, former additional DCP of the City Task Force P. Radha Kishan Rao, retired DSP Sambasiva Rao iNews TV channel MD Shravan Rao,

Meanwhile, police have issued lookout notices for Prabhakar Rao, Radha Kishan Rao and Shravan Rao. They allegedly left abroad after Praneeth Rao’s arrest.

The phone tapping issue came to light after Praneeth Rao was arrested for erasing the intelligence information from various electronic gadgets.

The arrest was made after a complaint by D. Ramesh, Additional Superintendent of Police of the SIB on March 10, alleging clandestine monitoring of individuals, unauthorized access to official records and misuse of intelligence information.

After the declaration of election results on December 3, 2023, Praneeth Rao had allegedly disconnected CCTVs, erased data and destroyed electronic devices.

SIB is an anti-Maoist intelligence unit but Praneeth Rao was tasked with the job of gathering political intelligence along with a 10-member team. He was allegedly keeping tab on the opposition leaders and directly reporting to Prabhakar Rao.

Prabhakar Rao, considered close to then chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, resigned as SIB chief after the Congress party came to power.

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