A series of seven thefts which happened on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday have raised questions about the alertness of the city police. Sources in the police claimed that most cops were busy making security arrangements for Punjab chief minister and VIPs, while miscreants made the most of opportunity.
A senior police officer said VIP duty was turning out to be a hindrance because investigations were left pending as SAS Nagar was one of the main cities in the state where VIPs attend functions every second day. This distracts both policing as well as investigation, he said.
The thefts, which were committed when the police department was on its toes extending a warm welcome to VIPs, exposed city police’s laxity. SAS Nagar senior superintendent of police (SSP) Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said VIPs’ security was also important as some of them faced a threat to their lives.
Only few cops were deployed for VIP duty so that regular work of the station is not disturbed, he said. Another senior police official said that rehearsals began a week before the CM’s visit on Friday, and the cops at police stations were sent for the rehearsals also.
A gang struck at seven shops in the city on Friday, starting in Sohana at 2.30 am. They then struck at shops in Sector 70 and Phase 3B2 in SAS Nagar.
CCTV cameras installed at a garment shop in Phase 3B2, from where branded clothes worth lakhs were stolen, revealed the miscreants struck around 5 am on Friday.
However, the city police was not alerted in spite of the first theft being reported at 2.30 am, and the miscreants carrying on till 5.30 am. This has raised a question mark over police patrolling. Harmapreet Singh, owner of a garment shop which was robbed, has announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for information about the thieves.