The Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Telangana police, which is essentially meant for tracking the movements of the Maoists and other extremist elements in the state, was used by the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government to snoop on the targeted political leaders of other parties and also on rebels or dissidents within the BRS.

Radha Kishan Rao was arrested on March 23 and was remanded to judicial custody for 14 days after being named as Accused No 4 (A-4) in the case (HT)

The information was disclosed by retired IPS officer P Radha Kishan Rao, who was the then deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in the Hyderabad task force police and was associated with the SIB, during the BRS regime, in his confession statement to the Punjagutta police probing the telephone tapping case.

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He revealed that former inspector general of police (IGP) T Prabhakar Rao, who was heading the SIB, cherry-picked a few “officers belonging to his own caste” which was also the caste of the top BRS leadership and used them in carrying out the snooping operations.

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Radha Kishan Rao was arrested on March 23 and was remanded to judicial custody for 14 days after being named as Accused No 4 (A-4) in the case. The remand report, which also contains his confession statement, disclosed how the BRS leadership had used the SIB to see that the party would come to the power for the third successive term.

The statement, a copy of which was reviewed by HT, said the state government had created a Special Operations Team (SOT) within the SIB in 2017, exclusively to keep a surveillance over all activities of political leaders of the opposition parties, their family members, associates, supporters, business persons and critics of the BRS party.

“The SOT was also given the task of snooping on the suspicious activities of persons within the BRS to keep them under light control of the party and its supremo. It was also used to induce potential political leaden of other parties to join the BRS which was clearly against the mandate of SIB,” the confession statement said.

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The SIB, headed by then inspector general of police T Prabhakar Rao, had deliberately chosen police officials of the same caste as that of the top BRS leadership, so as to have a smoother coordination in their operation.

While Duggyala Praneeth Rao, a previous acquaintance of Prabhakar Rao, was made the head of the SOT, other officials including additional superintendent of police (retd) Venugopal Rao and two other additional SPs G Tirupatanna and N Bhujanga Rao, all from the same caste, were roped into the SIB, so that they could share Prabhakar Rao’s plans and execute his plans to ensure the BRS victory for third time in 2023 elections in Telangana.

Radha Kishan Rao, who retired from service on attaining the age of superannuation in August 2020, used the same caste card with the BRS government and got reappointed as officer on special duty (OSD) for a period of three years in the task force police of Hyderabad.

“Again, after the completion of the tenure in August 2023, he got further extension as OSD for three more years by using the political influence and caste equations, at the behest of Prabhakar Rao, who used his services in the SIB to maintain hold on Hyderabad police,” the confession statement said.

During this period, Prabhakar Rao brought all these officials belonging to the same community into various wings of the intelligence department. They used to meet regularly and discuss strengthening of the BRS and ensuring its victory for another term.

“Further, on his recommendation, Gattu Mallu, who was working as inspector of task force, was brought into the SIB. They decided to communicate through encrypted apps and tools like WhatsApp, Signal and Snapchat to ensure their “clandestine and unauthorised activities using technology, tools and manpower” were not detected,” the confession statement of Radha Kishan Rao said.

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The SOT of the SIB, which had been snooping on the movements of the opposition leaders, seized 70 lakh belonging to one Anand Prasad of Bhavya Cements at Paradise Hotel in December 2018 elections. Prasad was contesting on the Telugu Desam Party ticket from Serilingampally assembly constituency.

During the bye-election to Dubbaka assembly seat in November 2020, SOT head Praneeth Rao, using the technical surveillance methods, identified the target on the field and his team seized cash of 1 crore at Begumpet, which belongs to a chit fund company of Siddipet, who are relatives and associates of Bharatiya Janata Party candidate M Raghunandan Rao.

Similar snooping was done on BJP candidate Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy during the Munugodu assembly by-election in the second week of October 2022. Following an input shared by Praneeth Rao under the directions of Prabhakar Rao, the SOT seized net cash of about 3.50 crore.

The remand report said Radha Kishan Rao also admitted that the SIB had also indulged in transporting of money belonging to the ruling BRS during the 2023 elections.

Meanwhile, a senior official of the Hyderabad police said Prabhakar Rao, who had left for the US immediately after the arrest of Praneeth Rao on March 13 on the pretext of treatment to an ailment, sent feelers to the government that he would surrender to the police in a day or two.

“More skeletons will tumble out of the snoopgate cupboard once Prabhakar Rao is taken into custody,” the official added.

The BRS leaders have remained tightlipped on the confession statement of Radha Kisha Rao.


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