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Security scare rerun for PM cavalcade

New Delhi, Jan. 30: The Prime Minister’s security was breached for the third time in a fortnight when a motorcyclist almost rammed into his cavalcade as he was returning from Rajghat this morning after paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi.

Delhi police sources said the red Hero Honda (DL 7SR 7425) drove past the security cordon at Subramaniam Bharti Marg in the Nizamuddin area of South Delhi around 9 and almost hit a Special Protection Group car that was part of the motorcade.

The motorcyclist, Atul Tyagi, was arrested and interrogated by Delhi police and intelligence officials at the Nizamuddin police station. Police officials confirmed the intrusion, but maintained silence on how it had happened and the follow-up action.

A Delhi police and a CRPF personnel were suspended in connection with the breach of security, according to a PTI report.

Today’s incident comes close on the heels of a similar security breach on January 28, when a Maruti Esteem tried to overtake Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s convoy at Rao Tularam Marg in South Delhi.

SPG personnel accompanying the motorcade had opened fire and damaged the rear window of the car, but it managed to cross over into Haryana. Two persons were later arrested and remanded in judicial custody. Their bail application will be heard tomorrow.

On January 20, when Vajpayee was returning from a trip to the Andamans, a red Maruti almost hit the pilot car of his motorcade before escaping into the night. Delhi police were unable to trace the car and blamed the thick fog for the getaway.

Government officials are furious at such frequent breaches of security. It is learnt that Delhi police commissioner R.S. Gupta was summoned by the Union home ministry to explain why such intrusions were taking place. An angry official wondered how Gupta can brush aside such an important matter by just claiming that “it was a case of impatient persons wanting to move out fast” after the last security breach.

“A security lapse is a lapse, whether it is minor or major,” said former city police chief Nikhil Kumar. “The fault is of Delhi police.”

There have been similar transgressions in the past, too. In the early nineties, in the Niti Bagh area of South Delhi, a car was fired at and stopped when it tried to sneak into the Prime Minister’s cavalcade.

T.R. Kakkar, who also headed Delhi police, stressed on the need to fix responsibility but believes a fresh look is necessary at the security Delhi police provides for the Prime Minister’s motorcade.

He suggested increasing the number of policemen on the roads, better surveillance and synchronising of the communication system to prevent such intrusions.

Till about 1997, Delhi police would impose a blanket ban on traffic movement 15 minutes before the Prime Minister was to pass through an area. This was later relaxed because it led to public inconvenience.

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