The Andhra Pradesh government late on Saturday night placed senior IPS officer A B Venkateswara Rao under suspension for allegedly “endangering” national security through his “acts of treason” when he was state Intelligence chief during the previous regime.
Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney issued an order placing Rao under suspension based on a report submitted by Director General of Police (Head of Police Force) Gautam Sawang, alleging “serious misconduct” in the process of procurement of security equipment.
Director General of Police rank officer Rao belongs to the 1989 batch. He was removed as the Intelligence chief after the Y S Jaganmohan Reddy government assumed office on May 30 last year. Since then he was waiting for a posting.
A confidential report on Rao, considered the ‘Man Friday’ of former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, said, “Rao wilfully disclosed intelligence protocols and procedures of police to a foreign defence manufacturing firm. This is a direct threat to national security as intelligence protocols are standard throughout the Indian Police Force.”
“Based on facts uncovered via investigation, prima facie evidence is established on the grave misconduct and irregularities, which were willfully committed by the accused officer resulting out of conscious and premeditated act of treason towards the state and the nation,” the confidential report said.
The report also said Rao colluded with one RT Inflatables Private Limited, an Israeli defence equipment manufacturer, to illegally award critical intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, who was CEO of Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt. Ltd. (primary bidder on behalf of RT Inflatables Pvt. Ltd.).
“This proves a direct co-relation between the accused officer and a foreign defence manufacturing firm, thus establishing a direct breach of ethical code of conduct and Rule (3) (a) of All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968,” the report added.
Earlier, on the eve of the elections in April last year, the Election Commission had ordered the transfer of intelligence chief following a complaint filed by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the then opposition party alleged that Chandrababu Naidu was using police officials to subvert election process in the state.
YSRCP had also claimed that Rao was behind the defection of nearly two dozen YSRCP MLAs to then ruling Telugu Desam Party.