The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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After stunt, crackdown

New Delhi, Aug. 9: The tremors that rocked Delhi’s security set-up after a Shatrughan Sinha lookalike walked in and out of Parliament unchallenged today laid low three securitymen and jolted the impersonator.

Security officer B.K. Ram and security assistants Dinesh Singh and Anil Kumar were suspended after a high-level meeting discussed the “lapse” in allowing the unauthorised entry of Balbir Singh Rajput, who impersonated the shipping minister.

An inquiry will be conducted by Parliament officials to find out whether there was “anything beyond the visible”, deputy Speaker P.M. Sayeed said.

On the other hand, New Delhi district police questioned Rajput at length after a television news channel reported how he left senior officials red-faced by exposing the loopholes in the security of Parliament, which had come under attack on December 13, 2001.

Rajput apparently told the police he is a professional actor and was put on the job by a Delhi- based 24-hour news channel. Police officials said they would verify his claims before deciding whether to interrogate the TV channel’s officials.

Rajput walked in without an entry pass or identification and managed to leave the complex without being intercepted even once by the security officials.

In fact, the guards and others stood at attention to welcome “the minister” and even wished him when he passed by.

Shaken Delhi police officials and those responsible for protecting Parliament met late last night and accepted that there had been a breach in security. They decided to take up the matter seriously to ensure that there is no repetition of such an embarrassment.

Police sources said the shipping ministry had lodged a written complaint with the New Delhi district police after learning that Rajput was impersonating Sinha.

Grilled about his motive, Rajput is said to have told interrogators that he had no ulterior motive. He agreed to go with the gimmick when representatives of the television channel approached him a few days ago and told him of their plan to expose the chinks in Parliament’s armour, especially when a session was on.

Parliament security was beefed up after Pakistan-based militants drove into the complex in a white Ambassador with a Ministry of Home Affairs sticker and a red beacon on top and shook the symbol of India’s democratic government.

Rajput added that as a professional actor, he had done several shows across the country and even on television as Sinha’s “double”. The similarity with the actor-turned-politician has been his claim to fame and has come in handy in furthering his acting career.

Rajput claimed that he has even done shows for political parties and has even been roped in for campaigning.

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