HYDERABAD: Once the last babu has gone home, theft of bulbs, tubelights and taps from offices is common in Secretariat, but security officials are intrigued by the theft of the handle to the door of principal secretary (home) P Gautam Kumar's office on Friday night.
The incident triggered speculation that some "important files" were stolen from the IPS officer's office, but investigators said nothing of significance was taken.
The thieves did not enter Gautam Kumar's office (room number 502-503) itself, they said. The door handle was neatly unscrewed with a screwdriver, causing no damage to the door or the locking system.
Deputy commissioner of police (Central Zone) Tarun Joshi confirmed that no files were stolen.
"Similar incidents took place a few months ago and it appears to be the work of some Secretariat staffers who are selling stolen items for petty amounts," he said.
Chief secretary Pankaj Dwivedi has ordered an enquiry into the theft at Gautam Kumar's chambers while the Secretariat chief security officer A Madhava Rao is also investigating the matter. The Saifabad police have registered a case.
Sources in Secretariat security told Express that there have been several petty thefts within Secretariat -- bulbs, tubelights and taps and even door handles -- in recent months. Stolen items are sold in bulk in the fence market. Stolen door handles for instance sell for Rs 100-150 in the market.
"The amounts they get appears small, but selling them in bulk fetches sizeable money," investigators said.
Security sources said they know the modus operandi of these petty thieves, who are possibly Secretariat employees. After stealing the items late in the evening, they carry the proceeds to the old gate of Secretariat opposite Amrutha Castle hotel.
The material is passed on to through the grill to accomplices standing outside. "Though the incidents are minor in nature, the fact that they happen at Secretariat is denting," said an investigator.