Andhra Pradesh High Court sets aside IPS officer's suspension

In a setback to the YSR Congress Party government, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday set aside the suspension of senior police officer A.B. Venkateswara Rao.

The court directed the government to reinstate the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer to regular service and pay him the salary for the period of his suspension.

On a petition by the police officer, the court also set aside the orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), which had upheld the suspension.

The state government on February 8 had suspended Rao on grounds of serious misconduct in the process of procurement of security equipment while he was working as Additional Director General of Police, Intelligence.

In March, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had confirmed Rao's suspension on the request of the state government.

On April 7, the state government had extended the suspension for another four months.

The Government Order (GO) to continue suspension of the IPS officer was issued after Director General, Anti-Corruption Bureau recommended the same in its interim report. According to the GO, the Review Committee had also recommended extending Rao's suspension.

The officer allegedly committed irregularities in the procurement of aerostats and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) at the cost of Rs 25.50 crore under the modernisation of police force scheme.

He was also accused of "endangering national security" by disclosing intelligence protocols to an Israeli defence manufacturing firm.

The IPS officer of 1989 batch while working as Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) during the previous government, had allegedly colluded with Israeli defence equipment manufacturer RT Inflatables Pvt. Ltd to illegally award critical Intelligence and surveillance contract to his son Chetan Sai Krishna, CEO, Akasam Advanced Systems Pvt. Ltd, primary bidder on behalf of RT Inflatables.

Considered close to then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, Rao was removed as the intelligence chief after Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy assumed office in May last year. He has since then been waiting for a posting.

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