"KCR Wanted To Arrest BJP's BL Santosh, Force BJP To...": Big Claim In Phone Tapping Row

The allegations were made by ex-Deputy Commissioner of Police P Radhakrishna Rao, who said he had also "arm-twisted certain persons creating trouble" for the former Telangana Chief Minister.

BJP National General Secretar BL Santosh and Ex-Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.


Inquiries into the Telangana phone-snooping row have thrown up yet another explosive allegation - that then Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao wanted to arrest senior BJP leader BL Santosh to force a "compromise" and "get rid of the Enforcement Directorate case" against his daughter K Kavitha.

The allegations were made by ex-Deputy Commissioner of Police P Radhakrishna Rao in a six-page confession that contained damning claims, including one that said he "arm-twisted certain persons creating trouble" for the former Chief Minister and/or his family members and the ruling party.

Mr Rao - arrested in March from his Banjara Hills Hyderabad home - also claimed he had, on orders from the Chief Minister or his inside circle, been active in "suppressing dissent or protest or agitation against the BRS (then called the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, or TRS) and/or its government..."

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The former senior cop, who was also a member of the Hyderabad City Task Force, said KCR, whom he called "peddayana" or his "elder", would get "irritated by minor dissent or criticism".

"Get Rid Of Case Against Kavitha"

But perhaps the biggest flashpoint was an elaborate plot-and-counterplot drama involving the BRS' Tandur lawmaker Panjugula "Pilot" Rohith Reddy, an alleged poaching attempt by the BJP, and the former Chief Minister scheming to entrap his rivals and force dropping of charges against Ms Kavitha.

"... sometime in the last week of October (before the 2023 Assembly election), one day Prabhakar Rao told me Chief Minister had information from an MLA that some persons claiming to be influential in BJP (were) asking him to leave BRS and join (the rival party)," Mr Rao said in his letter.

T Prabhakar Rao was then the chief of the Special Intelligence Branch and reportedly tasked by the former Chief Minister with running the allegedly illegal phone tapping operation. Prabhakar Rao - expected to return shortly from the United States - has been named as 'Accused No 1' in the case.

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"KCR, thinking to use this to corner the BJP, had asked the Special Intelligence Branch to put surveillance over these private persons (reportedly from the saffron party) and the MLA..."

The result was an audio tape that led to the arrest of three people after a 'sting op' at the farmhouse on the outskirts of Hyderabad. The BJP firmly denied it tried to poach any BRS legislators.

A SIT, or special investigative team, was set up to 'investigate' the BRS' poaching claims, and it was this team that K Chandrasekhar Rao reportedly wanted to use to arrest the BJP's BL Santosh.

Mr Santosh was named as an accused in the case but, after a stay from the Telangana High Court, authorities confirmed in November 2022 he would not be questioned in this matter.

However, the unfortunate, "inefficiency of some Cyberabad police officers" put a premature end to this operation. "The case went to the High Court, where do-not-arrest orders were issued and the case was transferred to the CBI (which reports to the centre)... pedayanna KCR was very angry."

READ | On Alleged Poaching Of MLAs By BJP, KCR Faces Court Setback

The High Court also disbanded the SIT, arguing it could not ensure an "impartial" probe.

BJP Reacts To Claims

The BJP's Telangana leader N Ramchander Rao has hailed Mr Rao's claims, declaring it has reinforced what the party said earlier - that there was a political conspiracy to trap leaders like BL Santosh.

"KCR tried to create a political conspiracy... we maintained there was no attempt by BJP to poach MLAs," he told NDTV, and also criticised the alleged phone tapping as "unprecedented" in India.

'Raid' On Congress Poll Strategist

Meanwhile, Mr Rao also made sensational claims about 'raids' against Sunil Kanugolu, who orchestrated the Congress' thumping win over the BJP in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly election.

Months before that election, in December, Mr Kanugolu reportedly made posts criticising KCR and his party. These posts prompted illegal snooping and a raid on his Cyberabad office.

READ | Sunil Kanugolu, Data-Driven Strategist In Congress' Karnataka Win

"I do not know what happened to that case... or electronic gadgets seized... but it became a big issue, saying the raid was conducted to obstruct the work of Congress party leaders by illegally seizing devices to get confidential data related to the party and its leaders and supporters," Mr Rao claimed.

What Is Telangana Phone Tapping Case?

The Telangana phone tapping case involves the alleged gathering of electronic data not just for political intelligence, but to blackmail leaders, and even private companies and Tollywood celebrities.

Congress leader N Uttam Kumar Reddy told NDTV all this happened with the knowledge of the leadership of the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government. "It is only a matter of time before they (BRS) leaders come under the ambit of the investigation," Mr Reddy said.

READ | Those Involved In Phone Tapping Will Be Jailed, Warns Revanth Reddy

Several other Telangana police officers are being investigated in connection with this case.

The list of individuals whose devices were reportedly monitored include Congress leader and current Chief Minister Revanth Reddy. As many as one lakh phone calls were reportedly tapped.

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