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Holes in security cover at halls, malls

Are Delhi’s malls and cinema halls safe for the huge rush in the days leading to the festival season? No, finds a police check, not in west Delhi at least, reports Ravi Bajpai.
Hindustan Times | By Ravi Bajpai, New Delhi
UPDATED ON OCT 18, 2007 02:12 AM IST

Security guards frisking visitors at Delhi’s cinema halls and malls are not doing their job properly, at least those in west Delhi. In surprise checks in the past three days, police teams posing as visitors carried arms and dummy bombs into most of these complexes undetected, the police say.

The lapse comes days after Sunday’s blast in a Ludhiana cinema hall and just days ahead of Dusshera and Diwali. West district police carried out these checks and found glaring security lapses at eight cinema halls and four malls, said a police source.

Robin Hibu, DCP (West), said: “We have found several discrepancies in the security apparatus and necessary action will be taken against the defaulters.”

Teams of special staff carried guns, tear gas grenades and dummy bombs in their pockets and wafer packets to these complexes, including Satyam Cinema (Janakpuri), TDI Mall (Rajouri Garden), PVR (Vikaspuri) and Wave Cinema (Raja Garden). They passed the security cordon undetected, said an officer. At Satyam, three decoy visitors managed to enter the hall with two guns and two dummy bombs on Tuesday afternoon, said a police officer. Hall manager (operations) Rahul Singh said he was not sure if this was true.

At TDI mall and Wave Cinema too, three officers could enter with arms and dummy bombs the same day, said an officer. TDI’s manager Kapil Kumar said the mall was secure and Wave’s Deepak Kelkar claimed tight security in the hall. Both denied knowledge of the checks.

At PVR on Tuesday evening, three armed officers entered the complex undetected, said an officer. The hall’s duty officer Iqbal Singh, however, contested that the decoy team was intercepted.

According to licensing conditions, cinema hall and multiplex management is responsible for arranging private security. Delhi Police’s Licensing department and local police should ideally ensure this norm is being followed.

Arun Kampani, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Licensing), said, “We will take action after receiving official information about the security lapses.”

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