Fromer Intel Bureau Chief Named Accused in Telangana Phone-Tapping Row

Published on: March 26, 2024 at 17:45 IST

The phone-tapping scandal rocking Telangana has taken a significant turn with former Telangana Intelligence Bureau chief T Prabhakhar Rao being named Accused No 1 in the case. Mr. Rao is alleged to have ordered the illegal tapping of phones belonging to opposition leaders during the previous BRS government led by K Chandrashekar Rao.

Mr. Rao, who is reportedly in the United States, faces a look-out notice issued against him. Authorities have searched his residence in Hyderabad and nearly a dozen other locations, including the home of Shravan Rao, the owner of Telugu TV channel I News. Shravan Rao, also believed to be abroad, is accused of facilitating the installation of phone-tapping equipment and servers on the premises of a local school.

Another police officer, Radha Kishan Rao, serving in the city task force, has also been named as an accused, with a look-out notice issued against him.

Several other Telangana police officers are under investigation, with Additional SPs Bhujanga Rao and Thirupathanna already arrested for confessing to illegally monitoring private individuals and destroying evidence. Deputy SP Praneeth Rao, arrested earlier, faces charges related to unauthorized monitoring and destruction of evidence allegedly on orders from Prabhakhar Rao.

The targets of the alleged phone-tapping include Chief Minister Revanth Reddy, members of the BJP and Congress, as well as individuals associated with the BRS party of former Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao. Telugu actors and businessmen were also reportedly monitored, with reports suggesting instances of blackmail.

Chief Minister Revanth Reddy has pledged to take action, likening Prabhakhar Rao to a “present-day Qasim Rizi.” The investigation is expected to implicate at least 30 police officers, with rumors circulating that a BRS leader could also be implicated, potentially casting a shadow over the party just days before a general election.

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