Former SIB Chief Named Prime Suspect in Hyderabad Phone Tapping Scandal

Retired IPS officer T. Prabhakar Rao has been named prime suspect in Hyderabad's phone tapping case, accused of masterminding illegal surveillance on opposition leaders, businessmen, and journalists. Four police officials have been arrested so far, with efforts underway to track down and arrest Rao, who is currently abroad.

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Former SIB Chief Named Prime Suspect in Hyderabad Phone Tapping Scandal

Former SIB Chief Named Prime Suspect in Hyderabad Phone Tapping Scandal

In a significant development in the Hyderabad phone tapping case, retired IPS officer T. Prabhakar Rao, the former Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) chief, has been named as the prime suspect and 'accused number 1' by TelanganaPolice. Sravan Rao Aruvela, the chairman of a Telugu TV news channel, has also been implicated as 'accused number 6' in the scandal that has rocked the state.

The police included Prabhakar Rao and Sravan Rao in the case on April 29, 2024, after investigating four other accused officials. Prabhakar Rao, who is currently abroad, is alleged to be the mastermind behind the illegal surveillance operation that targeted opposition leaders, businessmen, and journalists. The police are making efforts to track him down and secure his arrest.

Why this matters: This scandal has far-reaching implications for the integrity of democratic institutions, as it suggests that state surveillance apparatus was misused for political gain. The investigation's outcome could have significant consequences for the accountability of law enforcement agencies and the protection of citizens' privacy.

The scandal unfolded in March when a case was registered with the Panjagutta police following a petition filed by D. Ramesh, Additional SP of SIB. On March 22, the police searched the residences of Prabhakar Rao and Sravan Rao Aruvela, only to discover that they had fled the country to evade prosecution.

Four police officials have been arrested so far in connection with the case. P. Radha Kishan Rao, former Deputy Commissioner of Police (Task Force), was denied bail by the Nampally court. He is accused of threatening businessmen, arm-twisting one of them to take electoral bonds in favor of a political party, and involvement in targeted seizure of cash belonging to opposition parties and individuals, including BRS MLC P. Venkatram Reddy.

The Nampally sessions court heard arguments on Radha Kishan Rao's bail petition on April 30. Special Public Prosecutor S. Sambasiva Reddy argued against granting bail, stating that the accused might influence witnesses and hamper the ongoing investigation. The court accepted these arguments and refused bail to Radha Kishan Rao on May 2.

The government advocate revealed in court that the destruction of hard disks and other equipment by the accused led to the loss of sensitive data collected by thepoliceover decades. DSP D. Praneeth Rao was arrested for his alleged role in destroying this crucial evidence after the Congress party came to power in the state.

The phone tapping case has raised serious concerns about the misuse of state surveillance apparatus for political gain. Prabhakar Rao allegedly constituted a special team within SIB to spy on rival political leaders, their families, and even dissidents within the ruling party. The scandal has also exposed the alleged links between the accused officials and high-ranking members of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) party, which was in power when the illegal surveillance took place.

As the investigation progresses, theTelangana Policehave approached the Nampally criminal court to issue an arrest warrant for Prabhakar Rao. Hyderabad Police Commissioner K. Sreenivas Reddy has denied issuing a red corner notice for the former SIB chief, emphasizing that such speculation would hinder the case and complicate the investigative process.

The Hyderabad phone tapping scandal has sent shockwaves through the state's political and law enforcement circles. With a former top intelligence official named as the prime suspect and alleged links to the ruling party, the case has the potential to unravel a complex web of illegal surveillance, political manipulation, and abuse of power. As the Telangana Police work to bring the accused to justice, the public awaits further revelations in this high-profile investigation that strikes at the heart of the state's democratic institutions.

Key Takeaways

  • Retired IPS officer T. Prabhakar Rao named prime suspect in Hyderabad phone tapping case.
  • Sravan Rao Aruvela, TV news channel chairman, implicated as accused number 6.
  • Scandal involves illegal surveillance of opposition leaders, businessmen, and journalists.
  • Four police officials arrested, including P. Radha Kishan Rao, denied bail.
  • Case raises concerns about misuse of state surveillance for political gain.