Telangana DSP-rank officer suspended, booked for tampering with Special Intelligence Branch evidence

D Praneeth Kumar has also been booked for criminal breach of trust and under the IT Act and the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Mar 11, 2024 | 3:12 AM Updated Mar 11, 2024 | 3:13 AM

File photo of Praneeth Kumar

An officer of the deputy superintendent of police (DSP) rank working with the Telangana Police has been suspended and booked for criminal breach of trust by a public servant.

The officer was identified as D Praneeth Kumar, currently working at the District Crime Records Bureau (DCRB) of the Rajanna Siricilla district.

The officer worked with the Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) of the Telangana Police from 2018 to 2023. He got promoted to the DSP rank in 2023 and moved to the Rajanna Siricilla district that year.

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The crime

Telangana Director General of Police (DGP) Ravi Gupta told South First that Praneeth Kumar was suspended over allegations of tampering with physical evidence.

“We have initiated a departmental inquiry against the accused. Meanwhile, the Punjagutta police will continue their investigation and the DGP office will also investigate,” he said.

“Action will be taken based on the findings of these investigations,” added the DGP.

P Pradeep, a police sub-inspector (PSI) at the Punjagutta Police Station told South First that the case against Praneeth Kumar had been registered under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant), 427 (mischief, and thereby causing damage to the amount of ₹50 or upwards), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of an offence committed, or giving false information touching it to screen the offender), and 120 (B) r/w 34 of the IPC.

The DSP-rank officer has also been booked under Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act of 1984 and Sections 65, 66, and 70 of the Information Technology Act.

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The FIR details

The FIR against Praneeth Kumar, accessed by South First, said that Additional Superintendent of Police D Ramesh submitted a written complaint at the Panjagutta Police Station of Hyderabad to take immediate legal action against the accused, also known as D Praneeth Rao, for the criminal acts of breach of trust, and causing disappearance of evidence of the offence, among other things.

Ramesh explained in the complaint that he had been working as an additional superintendent of police of the SIB since 2019.

“Being a senior member of the organisation, I am well aware of the functioning of the SIB,” he noted, adding: “The Intelligence Department is meant for the collection of intelligence for the safety and security of the state.”

He added: “During my tenure in the SIB, D Praneeth Kumar alias Praneeth Rao worked as an inspector in the SIB from 2018. Later, Praneeth Kumar got an accelerated promotion to the DSP [rank] in 2023.”

He went on: “It came to my notice that D Praneeth Kumar, while working in the SIB, unlike other teams, occupied two rooms exclusively for himself and operated with 17 systems issued to him with an exclusive and dedicated leased line with an internet connection, through which he developed profiles of unknown persons and monitored them clandestinely, unauthorisedly, and illegally.”

Ramesh also said the disappearance of records — both physical and electronic — from the SIB office came to his notice this year.

“On inquiry, it came to light that, Praneeth Kumar, by misusing and abusing his official position, used to always copy intelligence information into his drives such as pen drive, external disks, etc, which were in his custody, illegally, most likely with the collusion of unknown persons and to shield his criminal acts,” he added.

The additional superintendent of police added: “He resorted to erasing the entire information by way of dismantling the systems, including external hard discs, by personally supervising the process of destruction unauthorisedly and illegally.”

Ramesh also said that on the night of 4 December, 2023, during the act of dismantling and destruction of equipment containing data and information, Praneeth Kumar turned off the cameras.

He allegedly destroyed old hard drives which contained data, which was gathered over decades, along with the data clandestinely obtained by him.

To avoid any suspicion against him, he replaced the old hard drives, which were destroyed, with new hard drives, which were unauthorised and illegal, alleged Ramesh.

Praneeth Kumar did all these illegal and criminal acts most likely in conspiracy with others to make a wrongful gain for himself and others, by abusing his official position, claimed Ramesh in his FIR.