Pune: Call it an irony of sorts or a bizarre situation. The Pune police do not have adequate space and infrastructure to store 1,400 self-loading rifles (SLRs) sanctioned by the state home department recently. The cops are now planning to allot the new weapons and ammunition directly to the police stations instead of keeping them at its armoury in Shivajinagar headquarters.
Following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks and German Bakery blast in February 2010, the Pune police had received 85 AK - 47 assault rifles, 250 SLRs, 450 carbines and a large stock of pistols.
Sources in the police headquarters said that the cops are in a catch-22 situation as the home department has asked the city police to collect the weapons without delay.
Speaking to dna, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters) Tushar Doshi said, “We had sent a proposal to the state home department for the new arms and the department sanctioned 1,400 new SLRs. The headquarter construction is old and there is an urgent need for building a new armoury in order to store these weapons and ammunition.”
It may be recalled that the city police had received inputs from the Central agencies about Pune being on the terror radar after the 26/11 accused Ajmal Kasab was hanged in the Yerawada Central Jail. Accordingly, the police administration had decided to conduct a fresh security audit of vital installations, including its headquarters.
The audit report showed that the security at police headquarters is compromised mainly due to inadequate number of guards to man all entry and exit points, absence of proper compound wall and lack of CCTV coverage.
Of the three entries that lead to the police headquarters, only one of the gates -- the one on Pune University Road -- is protected by a lone sentry. The other gates are not manned at all. The compound wall around the headquarters is low and does not have barbed wire fencing.
Speaking to dna, a senior police officer, who did not want to divulge his identity, said, “It is a serious issue. The police headquarters should have adequate personnel for security, CCTV camera coverage, compound wall fencing and firefighting system. This becomes all the more essential in Pune after the past two terror attacks.”