Former task force DCP Radha Kishan Rao says KCR ordered arrest of BJP general secretary BL Santhosh

The confessional statement came days ahead of 4 June, when the counting of the votes polled for the Lok Sabha elections is to take place.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published May 28, 2024 | 8:00 AMUpdatedMay 28, 2024 | 8:37 AM

P Radha Kishan Rao and K Chandrashekar Rao

Hyderabad police have reportedly stumbled upon startling facts like the purpose of the sting operation organised in October 2022 in which “emissaries of BJP” were arrested when they tried to spirit away four BRS MLAs ahead of the by-election for the Munugode Assembly seat.

In his 9 April confession statement to the cops investigating the phone-tapping case, former deputy commissioner of police (DCP) P Radha Kishan Rao said that BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao — who was the chief minister then — had ordered the arrest of BJP general secretary BL Santhosh. Although a notice was issued to him, BL Santhosh was never arrested in the case.

The details of the confession, which came out only on Monday, 27 May, showed Radha Kishan Rao also saying that KCR — whom he referred to as “peddyanna” — meant to use this as a bargaining chip to prevent the possible arrest of his daughter and BRS MLC K Kavitha in the infamous Delhi liquor scam by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Interestingly, the confessional statement came days ahead of 4 June, when the counting of the votes polled for the Lok Sabha elections is to take place.

Related: Telangana phone-tapping case probe reveals shocking details

KCR used state machinery?

In essence, Radha Kishan Rao laid bare what was apparently how KCR used the state machinery to obtain information and act on it.

It may be construed as the BRS chief’s efforts to settle his political scores and gain an upper hand over his adversaries.

Radha Kishan Rao said in his statement that phone-tapping of all the people was done under the watch of Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) chief T Prabhakar Rao.

Apart from using the state’s resources for laying a trap for BJP emissaries, KCR used it to keep a tab on the moves of his political adversaries and effect preemptive strikes on them, he said.

The confession is also said to have alluded to the sting operation on the farmhouse in Aziznagar in the Narsingi area on the outskirts of Hyderabad on 26 October, 2022.

Radha Kishan Rao reportedly said in his confession that it was ordered by KCR himself. He added that after constituting an SIT, KCR asked it to arrest BJP national secretary BL Santhosh.

The former top cop apparently said KCR had thought that if Santhosh was arrested, BJP would come to a compromise.

That was when the Telangana chief minister could then put pressure to get Kavitha off the ED hook, said Radha Kishan Rao.

Also Read: T’gana DSP-rank officer suspended, booked for tampering with SIB evidence

‘Will not disclose further details’

Radha Kishan Rao said the SIT could not arrest Santhosh, which angered KCR. “Peddyanna was angry that the SIT could not complete the work as he had wanted,” he said.

The case eventually went to the Telangana High Court, which issued no-arrest orders. The case was a later date transferred to the CBI.

“I will not disclose further details of the case as I owe a lot to ‘peddyanna’, who re-appointed me two times and posted me in the city task force after my retirement in 2020,” he said.

Radha Kishan Rao also claimed that KCR was keen on defeating BJP in the by-election to the Munugode Assembly seat in 2022 after the saffron party had won the Dubbak and Huzurabad by-elections.

When BJP leaders tried to reach out to four BRS MLAs, KCR came to know about it and ordered surveillance be kept on the saffron party leaders, he said.

Rao said that SIB chief Prabhakar Rao spoke about BJP’s attempts to spirit away BRS MLAs.

Later, an audio tape of the conversation of the BJP leaders — on whom the surveillance focused — was sent to KCR.

After listening to the conversation, KCR decided to lay a trap for them, said the former top cop.

Before the operation, KCR sent task force members to Delhi to purchase spy cameras that were set up at the farmhouse a day ahead of the sting operation, he claimed.

The entire operation was conducted by Cyberabad Police, Radha Kishan Rao is believed to have said in his official statement.

Phone tapping case: KTR threatens legal action against Congress leaders

 The alleged orders

Rao is also believed to have disclosed how the SIB was used to obtain political intelligence ahead of the Munugode by-election in 2022.

“We were tasked to seize money belonging to all the relatives and associates of Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, the BJP candidate in the Munugode by-election,” he reportedly said.

The Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) would apparently send the names and phone numbers through the commissioner of police (CP) to track the persons under the scanner.

“I used to seek the help of SIB Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Praneeth Kumar for more information about them through interception of their cell phones,” Radha Kishan Rao is believed to have said in his confession.

“I remember sharing a handwritten note from the CMO containing the names of G Vivek and Rajagopal Reddy’s associates to SIB for monitoring to get specific information about BJP’s cash movement,” he added.

Similarly, SIB DSP Praneeth Kumar shared the outcome of monitoring the numbers of Eatala Rajender’s personal assistant (PA) Janardhan, he said.

Acting on that information, approximately ₹90 lakh cash was seized by his teams near Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan in the Jubilee Hills area of Hyderabad, said Radha Kishan Rao.

The cash was later handed over to the Jubilee Hills Police Station, he said, adding that Eatala Rajender had apparently sent the money to Rajagopal Reddy for use in the election.

Related: Leaks says accused cops targeted politicians, talked via encrypted apps

More allegations

Radha Kishan Rao also said that the SIB — under the watch of Prabhakar Rao — would pass on the names and phone numbers of those under SIB surveillance to its DSP Praneeth Kumar.

He added who did the work to make the “errant” leaders fall in line.

The SIB kept a watch on BRS leaders like Kadiyam Srihari — whose daughter Kadiyam Kavya would play a pivotal role in this year’s Lok Sabha elections — and former rival and eventual BRS joinee RS Praveen Kumar.

The others on whom surveillance was kept included MLC Shambipur Raju, Warangal MLA T Rajaiah, and former minister Patnam Mahender Reddy and his wife Sunitha, who were not seeing eye to eye with Tandur MLA Pilot Rohith Reddy.

The list also included Narendra Chowdary of NTV and Radhakrishna of ABN.

Radha Kishan Rao is also said to have also disclosed that the task force also targeted businessmen and those in the real-state sector with information it received from the SIB to know about their political leanings.