Hyderabad: In a rather surprising development, the Telangana government on Wednesday appointed 1999-batch IPS officer and Hyderabad (West Zone) IGP Stephen Raveendra as the Cyberabad’s police commissioner in the place of 1996-batch IPS officer VC Sajjanar, who is transferred as MD to state-run TSRTC.
Stephen Raveendra, who worked in various capacities in the police department, is from Telangana cadre. Pre-bifurcation, he was known for his stint as the chief security officer of former chief minister of combined Andhra Pradesh Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. He is also said to be closer to the YSR family.
He also worked as SP of Maoist-affected Warangal district for about two years before tackling factionalism in Anantapur.
As a deputy commissioner (East Zone), Raveendra’s most-controversial period of service was between 2009-13, during which he played a major role in crushing the separate Telangana movement. The battleground Osmania University came under his jurisdiction.
Lathicharge at Osmania University
It was December 2019. Telangana movement, led by the now chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao was at its peak. He had begun a hunger fast and was then arrested. Simultaneously, bandh was called and OU was broiling.
The police, led by Stephen Raveendra, had resorted to severe lathi charge on the students, injuring at least 50 of them. The situation took an ugly turn later when the police chased the agitating students to the adjoining colony of Manikeshwar Nagar and beat up the locals and journalists supporting the students.
The then DIGs RS Praveen Kumar (now retired) and Sunil Kumar were also overseeing the security arrangement on the campus
This stirred up controversy, leading to Raveendra being barred from entering the campus at all. Situation got tense in the state cabinet too, with the then home minister Sabitha Indira Reddy’s decision to resign as Raveendra paid no heed to her orders. She later dropped the plan.
Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLAs Harish Rao, Eatala Rajender came down heavily on Raveendra’s actions. “This is the respect you have for a home minister from Telangana,” Harish Rao had admonished him, when he and fellow Member of Rajender were arrested by the police.
“You are doing this because your chief minister is an Andhrite and your DCP is an Andhrite,” Harish Rao had alleged then.
Failed deputation to Andhra Pradesh
The episode got buried and he remained in Telangana post-bifurcation as well. But when Jagan Mohan Reddy became the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh in 2009, the latter wanted him to join the AP cadre and offered Raveendra the coveted Intelligence chief post, as he had close association with YSR and Jagan.
Even before his appointment, Stephen Raveendra made a couple of visits to Amaravati to assert his position, but the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has not cleared his inter-cadre deputation from Telangana to Andhra, despite hectic lobbying by Jagan. As a result, he stayed back in Telangana.