Hyderabad: Irrespective of who forms government in Andhra Pradesh — the Telugu Desamnor the YSR Congress — a major revamp of the Intelligence wing is in the offing post-May 23, the day the election results will be out.
Though it has been repeatedly accused of being partisan by the YSRC ever since the TD came to power in the truncated state, what has made matters worse for the Intelligence wing is the suspected leak of information about the goings-on within the four walls of the office. Officials feel this calls for developing a robust system in the Intelligence department, whose chief serves as the eyes and ears of the Chief Minister.
Not only has this matter come up for discussion among the top brass of the AP police, all IPS officers are on the same page when it comes to revamping the Intelligence department.
It was the sensational cash-for-votes scam when the AP Intelligence wing first came under fire, but from its own political leadership.
The then Intelligence chief, Ms A.R. Anuradha, was shunted out as the powers-that-be were upset that their Intelligence wing had no inkling that someone had meticulously planned and executed the “operation” wherein then TD leader A. Revanth Reddy’s conversation was recorded and aired by the media, which put none other than AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu in the dock. Thereafter, the AP Intelligence wing, led by its then chief A.B. Venkateswara Rao, came in for sharp criticism after the defection of 23 YSRC MLAs to the TD. The YSRC accused Mr Venkateswara Rao of engineering the defections, but what set alarm bells ringing was that YSRC leaders accused the Intelligence wing of tapping the phones of their senior leaders.
What shocked many was that the YSRC leaders informed the Election Commission that one file, which was moved to the higher-ups, on tapping of certain phone numbers, contained the signature of the SP (Counter Intelligence) Bhaskar Bhushan.
“This is something unheard of. Though Opposition parties do make such allegations against the ruling party, the fact that they have access to such a letter speaks volumes about the functioning of the department,” a police official said adding that even if the letter leaked from the telecom service provider it still reflected poorly on the spy agency.
“If information is leaked like this from the Intelligence wing, what will be the fate of investigation into sensitive cases involving Maoists, terrorists or other high-profile cases,” wondered a senior police official who said a revamp of the Intelligence wing will be taken up after May 23.
“In any case, if the YSRC comes to power, the Intelligence department will be revamped and they will have their own systems in place.”
“We will have to review the existing systems, checks and balances and appoint officers, across the hierarchy who will work with commitment than be swayed by their political leanings. Review will be taken up post May 23 and it will be a top priority for any leader who takes oath as the next Chief Minister,” sources said.
During the defections of its 23 MLAs to the TD, the YSRC had alleged that Mr Venkateswara Rao had engineered it and the party leaders were privy to information which was known only to the police officials. Sources said that though it is very likely that Mr Venkateswara Rao will return as Intelligence chief in the event of the TD retaining power, it could be Mr P.S.R. Anjaneyulu if the YSRC forms government.
“In the normal course, the Intelligence wing operates silently and there is no scope for leaks as it can jeopardise a lot of operations as there are several sensitive matters that the department deals with every day. In the case of Andhra Pradesh, many allegations were made against the Intelligence department which means that information was being leaked at some level. These loopholes will be plugged,” sources said.
If sources are to be believed, a lot of systems in the Andhra Pradesh Intelligence wing has been “cleaned up” in the past month.
“This was done in anticipation of the developments in the days to come,” they said.
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