Show cause notice to Andhra IPS officer for talking to media on Pegasus

Venkateswara 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.

Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh government has issued a show cause notice to former intelligence chief and suspended IPS officer A B Venkateswara Rao for speaking to media on Pegasus row.

Taking a serious note of the press conference addressed by Venkateswara Rao on March 21, Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma issued the show cause notice.

According to the notice, the Indian Police Service (IPS) officer violated Rule 6 of the All India Services Rules. The officer held the press conference without prior permission of the state government.

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The IPS officer has been warned of action if he failed to respond to the show cause notice within a week.

Venkateswara Rao, who was the intelligence chief during the previous Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime, 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 ruling YSR Congress Party (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.

Venkateswara 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.

The IPS official also stated that the people of the state are in a state of fear and anguish over the ongoing developments, and the responsibility to clear the air on the Pegasus issue lies with the state government.

Venkateswara Rao said all allegations levelled against him regarding the procurement by the intelligence department and charges of treason against him were far from the truth.

“I have worked for 30 years in the service of the nation. Allegations have been made that I resorted to treason and shared secrets with other countries. None of the allegations made against me was made part of the charge memo issued against me,” he said.

He also wrote a letter to the state government seeking permission to file defamation case against MLA Chevireddy Bhaskara Reddy, chief public relations officer in the chief minister’s office and others for making baseless allegations against him causing damage to his image.

In February 2020, the state government had placed Venkateswara Rao, the IPS officer of 1989 batch, under suspension for his alleged misconduct and irregularities in purchase of security equipment.

The officer was working as Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) during the previous government

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.

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