Day after blast, Bengal DGP admits to security lapse

5 11 2008

Source: Indian Express
Salboni, November 03
The West Bengal government has admitted to a lapse in security of the chief minister which suspected Maoists used to target his convoy in Salboni on Sunday. And the man to admit this was none other than West Bengal Director General of Police AB Vohra.

Six policemen were injured in the blast that ripped through a police jeep minutes after the convoy carrying Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan passed the spot.

Police said six persons had been arrested. Three policemen — an inspector and two constables — who were responsible for manning the blast spot have been suspended for dereliction of duty.

Vohra, who rushed to the blast site on Monday morning, also talked to the district administration and pointed out the lapses in CM’s security.

Later talking to reporters, he said: “The police failed to apprehend the attack.”

After receiving a primary report from the DGP, Home Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti described Sunday’s incident as “a serous lapse in security”.

“No one responsible for the incident will be spared, no matter how big an officer one is,” Chakrabarti said.

The CPM state secretary, Biman Bose, made it amply clear that the police and intelligence failure was the reason for Sunday’s incident.

“The administration should have had information that such a thing was about to happen. The Maoists had over a half-kilometer-long wire attached to the bomb. It ran through open fields and along a canal bank. It is very difficult to accept that no one saw them,” said Bose. Sources in the Chief Minister’s secretariat said even Bhattacharjee himself was unhappy about the role of the district police. He has pointed out the lack of intelligence inputs.

Apart from the inquiry initiated by the DGP, Bhattacharjee has directed his Chief Security Officer, AK Maliwal, to file a separate report on the incident. “The superintendent of police of West Midnapore cannot deny his responsibility,” said a senior official of the CM’s secretariat.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home minister Shivraj Patil, meanwhile, had a telephonic conversation with the Bhattacharjee on Monday. “Both asked about my well being and wanted to know the details of Sunday’s incident,” the chief minister told reporters.

Earlier in the day, both Vohra and Maliwal made a on the spot inquiry of Sunday’s blast. The officers traversed through the paddy fields adjacent to the blast spot and went to the point from where the Maoists reportedly triggered the blast.

They tried to comprehend how the high tension wire, overhead the blast site, snapped with the blast. The police are also trying to trace the escape routes that the Maoists could have used.

Both the officers were present for more than two hours on the spot and later Vohra held a series of meetings with the district police officers.

Lapses on part of West Bengal police for naxal attack on VIPs

New Delhi (PTI): Basic security drill was not ensured by West Bengal police ahead of the visit of Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to Maoist-infested Midnapore district on Sunday when the Left-wing extremists triggered a landmine explosion.

Sources in Union Home Ministry said the police had not carried the basic road opening exercise, a mandatory security drill, ahead of the VIP arrival to or departure from a foundation-laying ceremony of a steel project in West Midnapore district.

The remote-controlled mine was exploded by the Maoists at Salboni shortly after Bhattacharjee had passed through that area and Paswan was approaching the point in Jhargram district, adjacent to naxal-infested Midnapore district.

While state Home Secretary A M Chakraborty said it was not a timer but a remote controlled device used to trigger the blast, Union Home Ministry officials were surprised that the West Bengal Police had not sent a Road opening Party (RoP) ahead of the VIP visit.

The pilot car of Paswan was caught in the mine explosion which was followed by the fall of a high-voltage electricity wire that led to injuries to six policemen.

State Police Chief A B Vohra himself is conducting an inquiry and fix responsibilities in case of lapses.