Telangana HC directs Centre, state to file counters within 3 weeks

Case taken up after report alleged phone was tapped during BRS rule
Telangana high court.
Telangana high court.(Photo | Sri Loganathan Velmurugan, EPS)

HYDERABAD: A division bench of Telangana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Tadakamalla Vinod Kumar, on Tuesday, issued notices, directing the Union and state governments to submit their counters in the case involving the phone tapping of an HC judge during BRS rule within three weeks.

A suo motu writ petition was taken up after a newspaper report published on May 29 alleged that the mobile phone of Justice Sarath Kaja was tapped during the tenure of the BRS-led government. This was revealed by Bhujanga Rao, a suspended police officer arrested for his involvement in the phone-tapping case. The high court PIL committee, recognising the gravity of the issue, placed the matter before CJ Aradhe. After reviewing the case, he directed the HC registry to register the matter as a suo motu writ petition.

The bench said the phone tapping case involves national security and individual privacy, warranting serious attention. Following the CJ’s directions, the HC registry made several key officials respondents to the writ petition. These include the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the Telangana Chief Secretary, the Director General of Police, the Principal Secretary of the Home Department, the Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence), and the Hyderabad Commissioner of Police.

The court is also considering other aspects of the report, which indicate that the arrested police officers’ confessional statements revealed widespread phone tapping. According to these statements, the phones of every politician who criticised then minister and BRS working president KT Rama Rao in connection with the TSPSC question paper leak scam, as well as those of judges, were tapped. The operation was allegedly conducted under the instruction of then SIB chief T Prabhakar Rao and was monitored by officers including Bhujanga Rao, Mekala Tirupathanna, D Praneeth Rao and former Task Force DCP G Radha Krishan Rao.

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