DGP-ranked IPS officer A B Venkateswara Rao has charged certain key officials of the Andhra Pradesh government with "blatant and criminal witness tampering, evidence manufacturing and suppression of facts" to extend his suspension from service and fix him in a false graft case.
In a 12-page Statement of Defence submitted to the Investigating Authority, the Commissioner of Inquiries (CoI) Ram Prakash Sisodia, on Sunday, the former DG of Intelligence accused some senior officers, who are expected to be accountable to Rule of Law, of indulging in "nefarious acts such as witness tampering, forgery and evidence tampering."
Apparently targeting state Director General of Police Gautam Sawang, Venkateswara Rao alleged that “some of my determined colleagues and several state organs are intent on proving me guilty somehow or the other.”
"For that they are not averse to fudge the records, create false documents, register criminal case under Prevention of Corruption Act, search my houses (on March 19) a day after the plea recording was held by (the Commissioner of Inquiries) and three days before the inquiry was to start with examination of witnesses.
They are also not averse to seize my laptop having all the data related to the inquiry, intimidate witnesses and thus send signals to me to either submit or be prepared for far worse consequences," the 1989-batch IPS officer added.
Venkateswara Rao served as DG (Intelligence) during Chandrababu Naidu's tenure.
The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government had on February 8, 2020, placed him under suspension over serious misconduct in the process of procurement of security equipment when he headed the Intelligence wing.
Rao, in his defence before the CoI, contended that the charges (against him) were vague and not supported by any oral or documentary evidence.
The charge sheet suffers from serious lacunae, he claimed.
Rao alleged that an e-file was manufactured during the inquiry to cover up and to plant false evidence.
"Nonexistent GOs were cited to level false charges. The charge sheet violates provisions of Rule 8(4) of All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969," he said.
"The equipment sought to be purchased was world-class, cutting-edge technology and would have saved lives and strengthened AP Police. I never influenced anyone either senior or junior to me in any way in the process of procurement," he said.
Venkateswara Rao appealed to the Investigating Authority to declare as disproved the Articles of Charge against him, given the "prosecutions blatant and criminal witness tampering, evidence manufacturing, forgery and suppression of facts."
The Supreme Court on March 9 directed the state to complete the inquiry (against Rao) "expeditiously and not later than the end of April, 2021."
The court also directed that a compliance report be submitted before the next date of hearing (May 3).
The CoI commenced the inquiry on March 18 and examined some former DGs as well as serving senior officials during the course of the inquiry and recorded evidence.