Over a week after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids on Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, the state police’s intelligence agency, the crime investigation department (CID), on Wednesday undertook a bug detection exercise at the CM’s office in Himachal Pradesh secretariat in Shimla.
The exercise was carried out by a special cell of the police’s anti-sabotage team that was assisted by information technology experts.
“Bugging checks were carried in all rooms of the chief minister’s offices and other offices concerned with himat the Ellerslie building,” an official of the CID, requesting anonymity, told Hindustan Times.
However, the official claimed, the bugging checks had nothing to do with the recent raids by the CBI at the CM’s residences, and were a routine affair.
The CID’s security wing, which is responsible for security of all VIP’s in the state, had earlier banned mobile phones inside the CM’s office in the building.
Virbhadra has previously alleged that the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government had bugged one of the rooms in Himachal’s state guest house in Chandigarh.
During the course of investigation, the CID had questioned some police personnel, who were allegedly assigned the responsibility to fix the snooping device in the room where Virbhadra used to stay at Himachal Bhawan in Chandigarh.
On assuming power in December 2012, he ordered a probe to unravel the bugging attempts in Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation’s office in Chandigarh. Investigation found that a room was indeed bugged, but no voice excerpts were found on the covert device during forensic examination, leaving it unclear whether it served any purpose.
The CID plans to carry out similar checks at Barnes Court, the official residence of the Himachal Pradesh governor.
CID overhaul on the anvil
In wake of the CBI raids on the CM catching the CID completely unawares, the state police are considering a major revamp of the intelligence agency.
The CBI had raided the CM’s private residence, Holly Lodge, about 8am on September 26 when he was about to leave for a marriage ceremony of his daughter at a local temple.
Sources said the CBI coming to the door of the CM with not even a single official of the CID having any inclination about the raids proved the complete failure of the state’s intelligence agency. Worse, the CBI vehicles bearing non-Himachal registration numbers managed to pass through restricted and sealed roads and by police barricades to reach the CM’s residence.
In a meeting held here on Wednesday, director general of police (DGP) Sanjay Kumar, who also heads the CID, reviewed the serious lapses by the intelligence apparatus.
“The chain of command and the methods of collecting intelligence will be reworked and lapses, if any, would also be dealt with strictly,” the DGP said.