In a major 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 in Chandigarh said.
The CISF commandant stationed at the secretariat was also summoned and apprised of the alleged lapse that had occurred on Tuesday.
A posse of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel guards the secretariat building.
SP 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, the president of the All India Ambulances Welfare Association, said he was in a group of 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 passenger tax on ambulances. They were to urge for withdrawal of the tax.
Asked why he had carried the weapon inside the Secretariat, Rana said he was not aware about the security restrictions.
“I was not aware that one cannot even carry a licensed gun inside the secretariat,” he told PTI over phone on Thursday.
“The association members procured a gate pass after which we entered the secretariat building. The CISF staff is not at fault, they did their duty, but I own full responsibility that it is my fault. I didn’t know 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 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 licence of his weapon, which he has been carrying for 10 years, from there and said it is valid till the end of this year.
Asked why he did not leave his weapon with someone before entering the secretariat, he said, “I thought it will be unsafe.”