Hyderabad Court Issues Arrest Warrants in Phone Tapping Case

A Hyderabad court issues arrest warrants for former SIB chief T. Prabhakar Rao and Shravan Kumar in a high-profile phone tapping case. The accused, believed to be in the US, were named in the case for allegedly surveilling opposition leaders and businessmen during the BRS rule.

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Hyderabad Court Issues Arrest Warrants in Phone Tapping Case

Hyderabad Court Issues Arrest Warrants in Phone Tapping Case

A Hyderabad court has issued arrest warrants for former Special Intelligence Bureau (SIB) chief T. Prabhakar Rao and Shravan Kumar, a senior executive of a vernacular media outlet, in connection with a high-profile phone tapping case. The warrants were issued by the Nampally Metropolitan Magistrate court on Friday, May 10, 2024, following a plea by the Hyderabad Police.

The accused, believed to be absconding in the United States, were named as Accused No. 1 and Accused No. 6 respectively in the phone tapping case. The warrants were issued after the duo submitted affidavits claiming to be abroad for medical treatment. The prosecutor argued for the issuance of warrants, citing the example of the red corner notice issued against notorious criminal Dawood Ibrahim for absconding.

Why this matters: This case raises serious concerns about the misuse of state machinery for political gain, and the potential abuse of power by those in authority. The investigation's outcome will have significant implications for the accountability of government officials and the protection of citizens' privacy.

Prabhakar Rao's counsel argued that his client was abroad for medical treatment and was not evading authorities like Dawood Ibrahim. He claimed that Prabhakar Rao had booked a return flight ticket for June 26 and was willing to cooperate with investigation officials upon his return to the city. Sravan Rao's counsel dismissed the case against his client as baseless, stating that no incriminating evidence was found against him despite police raids on his residence in Jubilee Hills.

The case relates to alleged surveillance of opposition leaders and businessmen by a team of police officers during the Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) rule. The police have already arrested four police officers in the case, including former Deputy Commissioner of Police (Task Force) P. Radha Kishan Rao, D. Praneeth Rao, Bhujanga Rao, and Thirupathanna.

The phone tapping came to light in March when a case was registered with the Panjagutta police after a petition was filed by Additional SP, SIB D. Ramesh. During the BRS rule, then SIB chief Prabhakar Rao allegedly constituted a team within SIB with his trusted aides, including DSP D. Praneeth Rao, for surveillance of rival political leaders and their families and dissidents within the ruling party.

With the issuance of arrest warrants, the police are now pressing for a red corner notice against the duo. A police official stated, "We will now be authorized to pursue for issuance of red corner notice." The investigation team had filed a petition last month, requesting the court to issue arrest warrants under Section 73 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Thehigh-profile phone tapping casehas sent shockwaves through political circles in Telangana. The alleged surveillance of opposition leaders and dissidents within the ruling party during the BRS rule has raised serious questions about the misuse of state machinery. As the investigation progresses, all eyes will be on the efforts to bring the absconding accused, Prabhakar Rao and Shravan Kumar, to face justice.