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Metal Detector Outside Karnataka Lokayukta Office Wasn't Faulty, It Just Wasn't Turned On

The incident has forced the government to analyse the security measures at the three secretariat buildings — the Vidhan Souda, Vikas Souda and the building that house the offices of all ministers and government officials, the Lokayukta and the Information Commission.

Deepa Balakrishnan | CNN-News18deepab18

Updated:March 9, 2018, 7:17 AM IST
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Metal Detector Outside Karnataka Lokayukta Office Wasn't Faulty, It Just Wasn't Turned On
File image of Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah greeting Lokayukta Justice P Vishwanath Shetty and his wife during the swearing ceremony at Raj Bhavan in Bengaluru.(Image: PTI )
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Bengaluru: The special team formed to probe the security lapse after the murderous attack on Justice Vishwanath Shetty at the Lokayukta office in Bengaluru on Wednesday has found that the "faulty" metal detector outside was not faulty after all. It had just been disconnected from the power source for some inexplicable reason.

"We were checking what went wrong and connected it. Then we realised it was working perfectly fine," said a puzzled official involved with the probe.

The high-level probe team, headed by a joint commissioner of the crime division, was formed after questions were raised over how a man with a knife was able to walk into the office and stab Justice Shetty thrice in the chest.

According to officials, accused Tejraj Sharma may have realised that sneaking the knife into the building would be easy as he had visited the office three times before Wednesday.

“It is possible that he observed that the detector wasn't functional. Neither was there a beep to warn about people carrying weapons, nor was the blinker light on,” the official said.

The accused was a disgruntled furniture trader, who had filed a complaint to the Lokayukta against 10 government officials, but it was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

The official added that as the Lokayukta is an autonomous institution, the installation of the equipment and its maintenance was taken care of by them for many years. “This switching-off of equipment went unnoticed,” said the official.

Interestingly, there are many police officers who are posted in the building to carry out anti-corruption investigations, but they too missed the fact that the security equipment wasn’t operational.

The metal detector, then, was more for decorative value.

The incident has forced the government to analyse the security measures at the three secretariat buildings — the Vidhan Souda, Vikas Souda and the building that house the offices of all ministers and government officials, the Lokayukta and the Information Commission.

Recommendations will be made on how to restrict access to visitors who walk in without permission or appointments, the misuse of some of the lanes around these buildings as they are thoroughfares, protocols on entry to each office, gadgets to be installed and a number of personnel to be deployed to check bags and keep weapons out. A detailed report could take about two weeks.

Meanwhile, heads have begun to roll. The deputy commissioner of police (DCP) in-charge of security at the three major Secretariat buildings in central Bengaluru has been suspended.

"Prima facie, he is the overall in-charge of security for all the buildings. Besides, the same accused had gone to the Lokayukta's office just 15 days ago and had had a verbal fight with him. And the afternoon hours are normal visiting hours for all government offices. They know that visitors will come during these times. Given the circumstances, he should have been alerted about this and taken precautions," said a home department official.
| Edited by: Puja Menon
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