New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) A man managed to smuggle in a firearm into Rajiv Chowk metro station and shot at himself at an extremely busy spot — under the nose of 110 closed circuit television cameras and at least 20 security personnel.
The CISF that is in charge of security within the station, however, chose to pass the buck calling the security breach on Thursday a “structural fault”.
“It was not the breach in CISF security. It is the fault of the structural set-up. The man has taken its advantage,” Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) spokesperson Hemendra Singh told IANS.
Rajiv Chowk metro station is considered to be the centre of New Delhi’s high security zone and gets a footfall of almost five lakh per day.
Shibesh Kumar Pal, 22, a resident of Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, entered the metro rail system from Chandni Chowk station around 6.35 p, m. on Thursday and travelled to Rajiv Chowk where he shot himself on the extremely busy foot overbridge connecting to the platforms.
“Pal’s sister Geeta, 25, had passed him a bag over a three-and-a-half feet glass partition fixed next to the customer service counter where no CISF personnel were deployed. Pal was carrying the locally made pistol in the bag,” Singh said.
Singh said the CISF had monitored the CCTV footage in which Pal was seen crossing the frisking area without a bag.
Without blaming metro officials, Singh said the CCTV footage clearly shows that a metro guard was present near the partition glass but he was looking towards the public when the bag carrying a country-made gun was passed to Pal by his sister.
Both Delhi Metro Rail Corporation and Delhi Police chose to steer clear of the controversy and refused to comment on the issue.
“After passing the bag to Pal, Geeta crossed the frisking area. She then boarded a metro train with her brother and travelled ahead to Jasola metro station. However, Pal got down at Rajiv Chowk metro station and shot himself at about 9.25 p.m.,” Singh told IANS.
The CCTV footage shows that Pal had entered Chandni Chowk metro station from Gate number 3.
Delhi Metro officials refused to comment on the issue, saying they had “no role in law and order issues” and it was the responsibility of CISF and police.
Delhi Police, however, said they handle law and order cases in the metro system, but security was under the CISF.
“Just after the incident our team reached the spot. We have taken Pal in our custody and are investigating the case after filing a case under the Arms Act and Breach of security Act. But we are not responsible for internal security. It’s the responsibility of the CISF,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Metro) Jitender Mani told IANS.
Mani said Pal, who arrived in Delhi a few days ago, was continuously changing his statement to police and did not give any satisfactory information about what prompted his extreme step.
“First Pal said his father’s illness was the reason behind his extreme step,” Mani said.
“In another statement, he informed that he had got information on September 28 that there would be a terrorist attack on Delhi Metro. He tried to inform the police several times, but no one received his phone call. So he was upset,” the official said.
The official said Pal’s second statement bore no relation to his suicide attempt.
Pal’s father, Girdhari, is recouping at the Apollo hospital after a bypass procedure.
About 5,000 CISF personnel are deployed at 180 stations of the Metro network that carries 25 lakh commuters daily.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted on email@example.com)