Telangana phone-tapping case: HC judge, family were under surveillance during BRS regime, say cops

Suspended DSP Praneeth Kumar and his team developed profiles of hundreds of people, and intercepted hundreds of phone calls, it said.


Published Jul 04, 2024 | 8:10 PM Updated Jul 05, 2024 | 7:48 AM

Phone tapping case

Mobile phones of some political leaders and several others including a Telangana High Court judge and his family were put under surveillance during the previous BRS regime by the accused in the phone-tapping case, the Hyderabad Police said in a counter affidavit filed in HC on Thursday, 4 July.

The police also mentioned that the accused police officers had obtained CDRs (Call Detail Records) and IPDRs (Internet Protocol Detail Records) of phone numbers of A Revanth Reddy (Telangana PCC president and now Chief Minister) and others. The accused also prepared profiles pertaining to the family members, relatives and close personnel and party associates of Revanth Reddy, they said.

A chargesheet has been filed against six accused including a suspended DSP of the Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB), two Additional Superintendents of Police, and a former Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), who have been arrested by Hyderabad Police since 13 March, for allegedly erasing the intelligence information from various electronic gadgets as well as for alleged phone tapping during the previous BRS regime.

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Modus operandi

In the affidavit submitted in the High Court on Wednesday, 3 July, which is hearing the case on its own on the phone tapping, the city police said former SIB chief T Prabhakar Rao (who is absconding) formed an informal team – “Special Operations Team” – within the SIB for carrying out certain specific tasks related to political surveillance to benefit the then ruling political party and its leaders.

Suspended DSP D Praneeth Kumar alias Praneeth Rao of SIB and his team developed profiles of hundreds of people, and intercepted hundreds of phone calls of several persons, it said.

The accused made requests to telecom service providers for CDRs, IPDRs and interception requests in violation of the Indian Telegraph Act and IT Act, and obtained CDRs and IPDRs, and thereafter on anticipating the change in government, destructed all the evidence of their illegal activities, it said.

The accused had obtained CDR and IPDR of phone numbers of the High Court judge and his wife, it said, adding that they obtained CDRs for a period of one year from 10 September, 2022 to 9 September, 2023 and the IPDR obtained was from 8 August to 7 September 2023.

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Accused did not cooperate with investigation

The accused deliberately committed all interception violations though they were fully aware that it is against the provisions of the Telegraph Act. All the accused resorted to do the work of political intelligence to suit the needs of the then ruling BRS party, it said.

“Instead of the mandated intelligence collection, all the accused in collusion with their associates in conspiracy have brazenly violated all norms set by the department and put surveillance over targeted political leaders, their staff, family members, journalists, a High Court Judge and his family, businessmen and their employees, bureaucrats both serving and retired, only for the purpose of serving the needs of a political party in power at that time and its leaders for their ulterior personal agenda of retaining power by winning the elections,” the affidavit said.

The High Court was further informed that the arrested accused did not cooperate well during the probe and also the scope of investigation is very deep, and that it will be continued further against the absconding accused and against their associates.

On the discovery of new facts against the arrested accused and on further investigation of the case against the absconding accused and their associates, supplementary charge sheet will be filed, the affidavit said.

The arrested accused along with others have been accused of developing profiles of several persons unauthorisedly and monitoring them clandestinely and illegally in SIB and using them in a partisan manner to favour a political party at the behest of some persons and also conspiracy in destroying the records to cause the disappearance of evidence of their crimes, police earlier said.

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