The state police have recommended a shake-up in the security of Himachal Pradesh chief minister (CM) Virbhadra Singh at his private residence Holly Lodge, official residence Oak Over and his office at the Secretariat (Ellerslie building).
As part of the reorganisation, the plan for which has been forwarded to the state government, the police department has recommended appointing an officer of the rank of superintendent of police (SP) to take care of the CM’s security, which is currently overseen by a deputy superintendent of police (DSP)-rank officer.
The CM currently has two-tier security comprising over 70 personnel deputed with him at his office and residences. While the outer ring is managed by the state police, the inner security comprises personnel and commandos from the crime investigation department (CID).
The department has also suggested changing the guards and sentries, and setting up baggage scanning and X-ray machines at the three locations, where the police said anti-sabotage checks should be held from time to time.
“We have drawn up a comprehensive proposal recommending major changes in the CM’s entire security set-up. As part of it, the police have also recommended installing mobile phone jammers at the three locations and purchasing more vehicles and latest weaponry for the CM’s security,” a police official, requesting anonymity, said.
The police proposal comes over a month after the CID undertook a bug detection exercise at the Secretariat. The exercise came in the wake of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids on the CM in September.
The CID’s security wing, which is responsible for the security of all VIPs 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.
Officer of superintendent of police rank to oversee CM’s security
Installation of baggage scanning machines at CM’s private and official residence, and office at Secretariat
Changing guards, sentries at the three locations
Routine anti-bugging and anti-sabotage checks at the CM’s office
Purchasing latest weaponry, vehicles