Phone-tapping case: 50 HDDs changed in 45 minutes on Telangana election results day, cop confesses

Suspended cop Praneeth Rao said in his confession statement that the electronic gadgets were destroyed by head constable K Krishna using an electric cutter.
Former intelligence officer D Praneeth Rao was suspended for unauthorised acts of destroying profiles and hard discs.
Former intelligence officer D Praneeth Rao was suspended for unauthorised acts of destroying profiles and hard discs.Photo | Express

HYDERABAD: On December 4, 2023, the day the Congress won the Assembly elections, CCTV cameras in the premises of the Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) were switched off from 7.30 pm to 8.15 pm. In these 45 minutes, around 50 hard disks of computer systems and servers that were part of the equipment used for tapping phones were changed, according to the confessional statement of the then Deputy Superintendent of Police, D Praneeth Rao.

Rao also confessed that the money seized from Opposition leaders was shown as ‘hawala’ money to avoid criticism from the Election Commission and political parties

“I used to get the targets for profiling and surveilling from IGP Prabhakar Rao and Venugopal Rao, a retired Additional SP. We used to monitor the targets and send updates to the chief of operations. On completion of Assembly elections, i.e., on November 30, 2023, we stopped surveilling our targets. After the exit polls, the SIB chief told us to destroy all documentary and electronic evidence,” he said.

Praneeth Rao’s confessional statement continued: “As per his (SIB chief’s) orders, about 50 hard disks of computer systems and servers were replaced with new ones and the removed hard disks were destroyed. Of these 50 systems, 17 systems and one laptop were used by me and my team for our clandestine and unauthorised activities. On December 4, 2023, after the Congress won the elections, Prabhakar Rao, the chief of operations, resigned from his post. Before leaving the office, he ordered us to destroy all traces of political profiles and hard disks of the systems used for monitoring. As per his orders, I got the hard disks (around 50), documents and clandestine profiles’ data destroyed by getting the CCTV cameras in the SIB premises switched off with the help of Anil Kumar RSI.”

Former intelligence officer D Praneeth Rao was suspended for unauthorised acts of destroying profiles and hard discs.
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Gadgets destroyed by electric cutter

“Initially, Anil Kumar refused to switch off the cameras. But when I informed the SIB chief, he was summoned and ordered to obey my instructions. On my directions, Anil Kumar switched off CCTV cameras from 7.30 pm to 8.15 pm on December 4, 2023 and during such time, Srinivas, Ananth and other persons from M/s Convergence Innovation Labs, Hyderabad, were called to the office and handed over their servers and hand disks. And the hard disks of our 17 systems, laptop and other hard disks from the server were removed by Harikrishna, RSI,” Rao’s confession said.

He said that the electronic gadgets were destroyed by K Krishna, head constable, with an electric cutter.

Praneeth was relieved from SIB on December 13, 2023 and was later transferred to DCRB, Rajanna Sircilla district. He was suspended on March 4, 2024 for unauthorised acts of destroying profiles and hard discs and switching off CCTV cameras.

“If the police teams and mediators follow me, I can show the computer systems in which I replaced hard disks at the SIB office. I also formatted my personal electronic gadgets like phones and laptops and threw away pen drives in order to destroy all clues related to crime,” Rao confessed.

Jubilee Hills ACP P Venkatagiri recorded the confessional statement of Praneeth Rao, who surrendered three mobile phones and one laptop.

Former intelligence officer D Praneeth Rao was suspended for unauthorised acts of destroying profiles and hard discs.
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Former intelligence officer D Praneeth Rao was suspended for unauthorised acts of destroying profiles and hard discs.
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