CHANDIGARH: In a major security breach, an armed man cleared multiple security checks to reach the office of Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in the high- security Punjab and Haryana Civil secretariat building, following which six CISF personnel have been suspended.
"We have placed six personnel under suspension for the lapse and an inquiry has been ordered," a senior CISF official posted here said. The CISF Commandant stationed at the secretariat was also summoned and apprised about the alleged lapse which had occurred on Tuesday.
Notably, a posse of Central Industrial Reserve Force (CISF) personnel guard the secretariat building. S P Rana of Delhi, who was carrying a .32 bore licensed pistol, was given a go ahead at three tiers of security before his licensed gun was finally detected during checking on the fourth floor of the Secretariat building by the security staff outside Khattar's office.
Rana, President of All India Ambulances Welfare Association, said he was in a group of about 20-30 office bearers who had an appointment with Khattar as the private ambulance operators in the state had proceeded on a one-day strike on Tuesday to protest against passenger tax on ambulances. They were to urge for withdrawal of the tax.
When asked why he had carried the weapon with him inside the secretariat building, Rana said he was not aware about the security restrictions. "I was not aware that one cannot even carry licensed gun inside the secretariat," he told PTI over phone today.
"The Association members procured a gate pass after which we entered the secretariat building...The CISF staff are not at fault, they did their duty, but I own full responsibility that it is my fault. I was not knowing that carrying the pistol, even if licensed, was not allowed in the building," he said. At the fourth floor, the chief minister's security staff asked him if he was carrying any weapon, he said.
"I told them that I had a licensed pistol. They questioned me and after I proved my antecedents and produced the licence of my weapon, I was allowed to leave, though they did not permit me to meet Chief Minister Khattar.
"I own full responsibility and I admit that it is a mistake, I have given this in writing as well to the concerned authorities at the Secretariat. Also, I was visiting the Secretariat for the first time and did not know about the procedures," he said.
Rana claimed that he carries the weapon with him all the time for personal safety as he has to travel frequently to areas in other states "which are fraught with danger". Rana who originally hails from Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh claims to have procured the license of his weapon, which he has been carrying for ten years, from there and said it is valid till the end of this year.
When asked why he did not leave his weapon with someone before entering the secretariat building, he replied, "I thought it will be unsafe".
He said it was his humble request to the concerned authorities not to punish "the innocent CISF officials for my fault".