Hyderabad, May 22: The Andhra Pradesh high court on Friday revoked the suspension of senior Indian Police Service (IPS) officer and former state intelligence chief A B Venkateshwar Rao and directed the state government to take him back into service.
The high court delivered the judgement on a petition filed by the 1989-batch IPS officer of Director General of Police rank challenging his suspension by the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government on February 8 this year, The Hindustan Times reported.
The high court, which heard the arguments from the petitioner and the state advocate general, also set aside the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which upheld the suspension of Rao. It ruled that the IPS officer be paid full salary for the period of suspension.
Rao was suspended for his alleged irregularities in procurement of security equipment from an Israeli company during the previous Telugu Desam Party regime. The government, which entrusted the case to Anti-Corruption Bureau, alleged that Rao had colluded with an Israeli defence equipment manufacturing firm RT Inflatables Pvt Ltd to illegally award critical intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, who is the CEO of Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt Ltd.
The government also alleged that Rao had wilfully disclosed intelligence protocols and procedures of police to the foreign defence manufacturing firm, which was a direct threat to national security as intelligence protocols are standard throughout the Indian Police Force.
Rao challenged his suspension by filing a petition in the Central Administrative Tribunal on February 13. He contended that the suspension was politically motivated and was done based on frivolous grounds. However, the CAT on March 17 upheld his suspension.
On March 7, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs also approved the suspension of Venkateshwara Rao. And it was expended for a further period of three months on April 7.
Rao, who was intelligence chief during the Chandrababu Naidu regime, was shifted from the post by the Election Commission of India following complaints from YSR Congress party leaders during the general elections in April 2019. He was later posted as DGP of the Anti-Corruption Bureau.
However, after Jagan came to power in May 2019, Rao was attached to the headquarters without being given any posting.
Meanwhile, hearing another petition, the high court found fault with the state government for going ahead with painting the buildings of gram panchayats with colours representing the ruling YSR Congress party, despite earlier orders given by both the high court and the Supreme Court.
The high court also dismissed the state government order (GO Ms No. 623), adding terracotta colour to the YSRC party colours on the gram panchayat buildings, instead of removing them altogether.
The high court sought to know why a contempt of court should not be filed against the government for defying its earlier orders. It sought an explanation from the state chief secretary and panchayat raj secretary by May 28 and asked the high court registrar to start the procedure for contempt of court.