LUCKNOW: A day after a packet of PETN explosive was found under the seat of an opposition MLA in the UP Assembly, the security of chief minister Yogi Adityanath has been enhanced.
Eligible for Z plus security, the chief minister has 15 NSG commandos guarding him. This number has now been increased to 35.
On Saturday, the police administration buttressed the security arrangements in the state legislature. A team of detectives from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) informally joined the probe with the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) late Friday night even before receiving the state’s formal request to headquarters.
Over a dozen persons were quizzed, including Samajwadi Party MLA Manoj Pandey, under whose seat (no. 80) in Lucknow a 150 gm packet of PETN was found. A team of ATS sleuths led by a deputy SP, interrogated Pandey for 20 minutes during which some intriguing facts came to light.
According to ATS sources, Pandey told the cops that since there was no formal allocation of seats to MLAs in the house, he had changed his seat thrice on day one of the session. The next morning the strange powder was recovered from under seat no. 80.
Kannauj MLA Sunil Dohre (SP), who was sitting next to Pandey, is to be interrogated on Monday.
State security authorities have sent the substance to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) in New Delhi for further tests.
ATS personnel also quizzed members of the bomb disposal squad who spotted the packet during a security drill.
While an entire battery of top cops including DGP Sulkhan Singh visited the Assembly complex to take stock of the security arrangements, the authorities moved to put in place an integrated system to safeguard the Assembly.
Detectives also inspected CCTV footage for clues, and found that only one of the six cameras installed in the main hall was functional.
Probe agencies subjected the entire Vidhan Bhawan complex to a security audit. “A mock drill to find more lacunae is likely to take place on Sunday,” an officer said.
The state government has summoned Ajay Anand, ADG for Agra zone, to review the security arrangements on the Assembly premises. Anand is considered to be a security expert as he has experience of safeguarding Parliament during his stint as director of security for Parliament House.
The total security contingent of the Assembly complex will now be elevated to three tiers from one and manned by ATS sleuths in association with the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC).
“Bullet proof chambers fitted with ultra-modern surveillance equipment and weapons to avert any sabotage bid will be in place soon,” said ADG Anand Kumar while elaborating on the features being added to the system.
He claimed that 109 CCTV cameras were made functional. “Other equipment such as boom barriers may also be installed to enhance security,” he maintained.