Almost six months ago, after Mahendra Karma had a miraculous escape in a landmine blast at Dantewada, the Union home ministry found many loopholes in his security detail and the Chhattisgarh police were warned accordingly.
“We feared he might face exactly the kind of attack that took place on Saturday,” a security official said on Sunday.
Karma was a Z plus category security protectee.
His route was not sanitised. The official said there was no coordination between the local police and Karma’s security detail on his movement. “No advance intelligence was being gathered about the places he was supposed to visit.”
Sources said the ambush near Darbha was an example of wrong policing in Chhattisgarh.
“Highways are not regularly sanitised for landmines. It is yet to be known whether any advance party was sent to check the road ahead. Most importantly, why were all these leaders travelling in a convoy in an area known as the hotbed of Naxalism,” said a source with detailed knowledge of anti-Maoist measures.
According to security officials, Maoists generally mount an ambush when the target is returning after a visit to a Naxal hotbed. Apparently, there are two reasons for this. One, the rebels bank on the fact that there would be a sense of complacency in the security detail and the protectee as well after accomplishing a task; second, by then the exact security arrangement of the target would be known.
Security officials fear this is what happened on Saturday.