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Probe into Sonia visit security breach

Congress president Sonia Gandhi's security convoy was led off the pre-decided route in the city on Saturday, allegedly by a traffic police inspector busy on her mobile phone, inviting a backlash from the Special Protection Group (SPG).

india Updated: Apr 30, 2012 01:21 IST
Naveen Ammembala

Congress president Sonia Gandhi's security convoy was led off the pre-decided route in the city on Saturday, allegedly by a traffic police inspector busy on her mobile phone, inviting a backlash from the Special Protection Group (SPG).

Bangalore Police have initiated a probe into the security breach, reportedly caused by inspector Shashikala, who was manning the pilot vehicle, around 8.15am at the Anil Kumble Circle (named after the celebrated cricketer).

Asked for an explanation Shashikala (who goes by one name) - who forgot the route, while allegedly talking on her mobile phone - blamed the pilot vehicle's driver for the goof-up, which saw Gandhi's entire convoy take a wrong turn while following the lead vehicle.

Shashikala, who also claimed she was using the mobile phone because jammers deployed by the SPG had affected the walkie-talkie, was suspended by city police commissioner Jyoti Prakash Mirji on Sunday.

The convoy, which was to go left from the Anil Kumble Circle and turn right to enter Cubbon Road, entered Mahatma Gandhi Road instead. The lapse, however, was rectified within minutes after security personnel spoke to Shashikala over the walkie-talkie and she remembered the route map prepared by deputy commissioner of police AN Swamy.

SPG personnel informed Mirji about the security breach, which occurred when Gandhi was going from the Raj Bhavan to the HAL airport to head to Tumkur.

Senior police officers are sceptical about Shashikala's explanation.

An officer who did not want to be quoted said she was offering lame excuses because the jammer had not affected the walkie-talkies of other officers in the security detail. "The departmental inquiry against Shashikala will continue," the officer added.