Phone tapping case: Nampally court grants five-day custody to two additional SPs


 

The Nampally Criminal Court, on March 28, has granted five-day custody for questioning of Additional DCP of CSW Mekala Thirupathanna and Additional SP of Bhupalpally Nayini Bhujanga Rao in the phone tapping case. 

However, the court has denied Punjagutta police’s request for five days additional custody for Praneeth Kumar aka Praneeth Rao, who is facing multiple charges, including criminal breach of trust. Mr Thirupathanna and Mr Bhujanga Rao have been named as accused two (A2) and three (A3) in the court order.  

“The petition is partly allowed by granting five days custody to A2 and A3 commencing from 11 a.m. on March 29, 2024, to 11 a.m. on April 2, 2024. The requisition for further custody of A1 has been dismissed,” says the court order.

As per the conditions of custody, the counsel of both accused can be present during the questioning, and interrogation cannot be done between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on all five days.  This comes less than a week after the arrest of two officials, who were then Additional SPs of SIB and Intelligence Department respectively, on similar charges. This followed the week-long questioning of suspended DSP of the SIB Mr Praneeth Rao beginning March 17.  

According to the sources, Mr Thirupathanna and Mr Bhujanga were arrested on similar charges as Mr Praneeth which includes conspiracy to develop profiles of private persons by misusing their official positions, destroy evidence of their illegal activities and disappearance of evidence.  Mr Praneeth was arrested on March 13 by the Punjagutta police from his residence in Srinagar Colony of Rajanna-Sircilla district following a complaint from his superior D. Ramesh, Additional SP with the SIB.  

As per the complaint, Mr. Praneeth, with exclusive access to two rooms and 17 computer systems with a dedicated leased line with Internet connection, developed profiles of unknown persons and monitored the same clandestinely.  Moreover, he was also involved in  turning off the cameras and destroying 42 hard drives which contained profiles of those people and replacing them with new ones on the night of December 4, 2023, the day Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) lost the Telangana Assembly Elections 2023.  

He was booked under Sections 409, 427, 201 and 120 (B) of the IPC and cases were also registered under the Prevention of Destruction of Public Records Act (PDPP Act), 1984 and the Information Technology Act (ITA). 



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