YSRC expected action against DGP

The YSRC delegation had made serious allegations against DGP R.P. Thakur, DG, Mr Venkateswara Rao and other police officials.

Hyderabad: The ‘war’ between AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and his arch rival YSRC leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is all set to escalate with the Election Commission of India shunting out AP Intelligence chief A.B. Venkateshwara Rao considered a very close aide of Mr Naidu.

The YSRC delegation had made serious allegations against Director General of Police R.P. Thakur, DG, Mr Venkateswara Rao and other police officials. The YSRC was expecting that the CEC may crack the whip against Mr Thakur.

The EC also transferred two others officers, the superintendents of police Rahul Dev Sharma of Kadapa and A. Venkat Ratnam of Srikakulam. The move by the Election Commission came a day after a YSRC delegation led by its Rajya Sabha MP V. Vijaya Sai Reddy gave a detailed presentation to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Tuesday.

Following the transfer of Mr Venkateswara Rao, the names of Vigilance and Enforcement DGP D. Gautam Sawang, Vijayawada police commissioner D. Tirumala Rao and CID chief Amit Garg were doing the rounds as replacements.

It is learnt that the YSRC delegation presented a dossier of sorts about Mr Thakur and Mr Venkateswara Rao besides principal secretary, (home), A.R. Anuradha, Counter Intelligence wing SP Bhaskar Bhushan, Srikakulam SP Venkat Ratnam and Kadapa SP Rahul Dev Sharma and sought their transfers to ensure a free and fair election.

Though the YSRC has often accused Mr Thakur, a 1986 batch IPS officer, and Mr Venkateswara Rao of the 1989 batch, of acting like “TD agents” this is the first time that the YSR Congress has meticulously prepared a detailed note and briefed the CEC and his team of officials.

No sooner had the YSRC made the presentation than the news spread like wildfire back in the corridors of power in AP and bureaucratic circles were abuzz about an imminent change.

Sources privy to the details of Mr Vijaya Sai Reddy’s presentation to the CEC disclosed to DC that the charges began with alleged illegal telephonic surveillance mounted by the AP Police on YSRC leaders.

The Counter Intelligence cell, of which Mr Bhaskar Bhushan is the head, it was alleged, had moved a file to their higher-ups for the phone tapping of certain numbers of leaders of the YSRC. “The file contains the signatures of the SP,” the CEC was informed.

The YSRC papers say that the DGP, whose appointment as the state police chief is still irregular (not as per the guidelines of the Supreme Court wherein the names of a panel of IPS officers is submitted to the Centre out of which the UPSC picks up one officer for the top post) has been favouring the state government by giving key postings/promotions to a particular caste, which is to the advantage of the TD.

“Both the DGP and the Intelligence chief together have been posting people of one particular caste in all key posts, mostly at the middle and lower levels to ensure that all their people are there which will be advantageous during elections. In some of the districts, changes were made in the last minute before the code of conduct came into force,” they alleged.

Interestingly, Mr Venkateswara was promoted to the rank of DGP just days before the code of conduct came into force.

The YSRC complaint cited examples of how, during promotion of constables to head constables and head constables to ASIs, the top brass held huge meetings on police grounds where all those promoted were made to say “Jai ho Chandrababu Naidu” and other similar slogans, amounted to politicising the department.

They also alleged that nearly 500 cases had been registered on “flimsy grounds” against YSRC leaders and workers, just to harass them. “Thakur, who is holding additional charge as DG, ACB, is using that post to terrorise government employees to fall in line with the TDP,” the YSRC leaders alleged.

The YSRC leaders also made a mention of the recent row over Mr Thakur’s house in Prashasan Nagar, whose compound wall was demolished on the charge that it was illegal. This issue was also raised by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in one of his campaign meetings when he was accusing TRS supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao of colluding with Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

With regard to Mr Venkateswara Rao, the YSRC leaders accused him of systematically advancing TD’s prospects by stealing data of AP voters through the Sevamitra app used by the TD for its registered cadre. “He is the key architect for the poll strategies and has been instrumental in selection and screening of candidates on behalf of Mr Naidu,” they alleged adding that he had been given the task of pumping in money and distributing it among voters, using lower rung policemen.

Both Mr Thakur and Mr Venkateswara Rao have been accused of trying to influence the probe into the Y.S. Vivekananda Reddy murder case. “Without any basis, they have been harassing YSRC leaders ever since the murder took place. We have been demanding a CBI probe, which will bring out the truth but the government is bent upon investigating the case,” they alleged.

They had named Kadapa SP Rahul Dev Sharma and accused him of foistering false cases against and harassing YSRC leaders in the Vivekananda Reddy case. The party levelled a series of allegations against Srikakulam SP A. Venkat Ratnam, particularly of harassing YSRC leaders.

The YSRC leaders had dragged in principal secretary, home, A.R. Anuradha, alleging that she was working in a partisan manner. “All these officials have to be kept away to have free and fair elections,’’ Mr Vijaya Sai Reddy told the CEC.

As per the procedure, in case the ECI decided to shift the DGP, names of the senior-most officials will have to be sent from which the ECI will pick up one officer based on his service and track record.

Of Thakur’s batchmates from 1986, V.S.K. Kaumudi is with the CRPF in Jammu and Kashmir, D. Gautam Sawang is posted as DG, Vigilance and Enforcement. Of these three, Mr Kaumudi retires in November 2022, Mr Sawang in July 2023 and Mr Ranjan has just five months for retirement.

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