The Andhra Pradesh government has revoked suspension of senior IPS officer A.B. Venkateswara Rao and issued orders for his reinstatement into service.
The officer has been directed to report to the General Administration Department for posting. The suspension has been revoked with effect from February 8, 2022 as directed by the Supreme Court.
The Government Order (GO) was issued nearly a month after the Supreme Court revoked Rao’s suspension.
The GO noted that the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer was placed under suspension on February 8, 2020 on the grounds of serious misconduct in the process of procurement of security equipment while he was working as Additional Director General of Police, Intelligence.
The Supreme Court on April 22 dismissed the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the state government challenging the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s order which had set aside the suspension of the former intelligence chief.
It made it clear that the suspension could be for a maximum of two years as per the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Amendments Rules, 2015, and since this period was over, the suspension could no longer be in place.
In February 2020, the state government had placed Rao, an IPS officer of 1989 batch, under suspension for his alleged misconduct and irregularities in purchase of security equipment from an Israeli firm.
He was working as Additional Director General of Police, Intelligence, during the previous government of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Considered close to then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, Rao was removed as the intelligence chief after Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy assumed office in May 2019. He was waiting for a posting when he was suspended.
The police officer had approached Andhra Pradesh High Court, which had set aside the suspension on May 22, 2020.
In March this year, the state government had issued show cause notice to Rao for speaking to media on Pegasus row without prior permission of the government.
He had addressed a press conference after Assembly Speaker Tammineni Sitaram announced that a House Committee will be constituted to probe the Pegasus issue.
The House Committee announcement came on the demand by members of the ruling YSRCP who wanted a thorough probe in the light of reported claim by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee that the TDP government headed by Chandrababu Naidu had purchased spyware from Pegasus.
Rao told a news conference that neither the intelligence wing nor any other government department had procured or used the Pegasus spyware till April 2019.