Amaravati (AP): Director General of Police-rank IPS officer A B Venkateswara Rao, who was placed under suspension by the Andhra Pradesh government, on Thursday filed a petition in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging his suspension from service, terming it "highly illegal."
He sought quashing of the suspension order forthwith. The Andhra Pradesh government late on Saturday night placed Rao under suspension for allegedly "endangering" national security through his "acts of treason" when he was state Intelligence chief during the previous government.
Rao, who belongs to the 1989 batch, was removed as Anti-Corruption Bureau DG immediately after the Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government assumed office on May 30 last year.
Ever since, he has not been given a posting. In his petition, Rao alleged that his suspension was "highly illegal, arbitrary, based on malafide, bias and malice and in violation of All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969."
He also contended that it was a gross violation of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India and principles of natural justice.
Rao said he had an unblemished service of over 30 years during which he was awarded the prestigious Indian Police Medal for meritorious service and President's Police Medal for distinguished services.
He was also a recipient of the Ati Utkrisht Seva Padak and UN Medal for Peacekeeping. On his transfer from the ACB DG post on May 30, 2019, Rao said he was not issued posting orders despite several oral and written representations to the government and was also not paid salary and allowances for the past eight months.
His last written plea was made on January 28, 2020. "As a rebuttal, a Government Order (GO) was issued late on the night of February 8 placing me under suspension, despite it being an official holiday.
The order copy was served personally only at 7.15 am on February 13," he pointed out. In the GO No 18, Chief Secretary Nilam Sawhney said Rao's suspension was based on a report submitted by Director General of Police (Head of Police Force) Gautam Sawang, alleging "serious misconduct" in the process of procurement of security equipment.
A leaked 'confidential' report on Rao, considered the 'Man Friday' of previous Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, said,"Rao wilfully disclosed intelligence protocols and procedures of police to a foreign defence manufacturing firm.
This is a direct threat to national security as Intelligence protocols are standard throughout the Indian Police Force."
"Based on facts uncovered via investigation, prima facie evidence is established on the grave misconduct and irregularities, which were wilfully committed by the accused officer resulting out of conscious and premeditated act of treason towards the state and the nation," the confidential report said.
The report also said Rao colluded with RT Inflatables Private Limited, an Israeli defence equipment manufacturer, to illegally award critical intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, who was CEO of Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt. Ltd. (primary bidder on behalf of RT Inflatables Pvt. Ltd).
"This proves a direct co-relation between the accused officer and a foreign defence manufacturing firm, thus establishing a direct breach of ethical code of conduct and Rule (3) (a) of All India Service (Conduct) Rules, 1968," the report added.
Rao said there was no truth in the report and he was not mentally perturbed over it. His son Chetan Sai Krishna, too, rubbished the allegations and said he never did any business with either the Andhra Pradesh government or any other government.