Abandoned vehicle leads to panic; CCTV cameras at petrol pump fail to show who parked car
A CAR parked outside a Bharat Petroleum pump owned by a relative of state minister Harshwardhan Patil in Koregaon Park triggered panic yesterday as the police checked the car for a possible bomb. Since the date yesterday was September 13, the call was handled with utmost precaution -- the German Bakery blast had taken place on February 13 last year.
False alarm: (Top) The spot (circled) outside BP pump in Koregaon Park where the abandoned Santro was found, but where a different car is seen parked after the police moved the suspect vehicle to an isolated spot; the BDDS checks the Santro near the Tribal Museum. Pics/Krunal Gosavi
The area was sealed for nearly an hour-and-half, leading to much panic among commuters. The confusion was cleared after 1.30 pm, with the Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad thoroughly checking the car and finding only a bag containing some clothes and a few CDs. The Bundgarden police are trying to ascertain the identity of the car owner.
Camera fiasco: Some of the seven CCTV cameras at the BP petrol
pump in Koregaon Park. As all cameras were facing the same direction,
they did not capture footage of the car parked just 10 metres away
CCTVs at few pumps
The incident highlighted an important issue -- not many petrol pumps in the city have installed CCTV cameras. Petrol pump owners contend that going for the CCTV system would be an additional cost burden for them.
In the case of the petrol pump where the bomb scare occurred, there were seven CCTV cameras installed but not one of these covered the portion of the road where the suspect Daman-passing Santro was parked.
Considering the vulnerability of fuel stations and the possibility of their being chosen as potential targets by terrorists, the bomb scare has raised many questions and exposed the security risk faced by around 350 petrol pumps in the district, 120 of which are within city limits.
The situation has not changed in spite of the police repeatedly reminding all petrol dealers and pump owners to install security gadgets and deploy armed guards. Maharashtra Petrol Dealers Association spokesperson Ali Daruwala said: "It is not feasible for us to install all these gadgets. That is why we recently held a meeting with the Oil and Petroleum Ministry and submitted a letter to it saying the partial expenses incurred for installation of gadgets such as CCTV cameras should be borne by the government, but nothing has been done yet."
>> A CAR was found parked outside the Bharat Petroleum petrol pump on North Main Road, leading to panic in the busy morning hours yesterday. After a traffic constable noticed the abandoned car, he immediately informed the control room. A dog squad was summoned and the car was towed away to an isolated spot near the Tribal Museum. The Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad thoroughly checked the car and confirmed that nothing suspicious was found inside. There were some clothes and a few CDs in the car.
>> The petrol pump has CCTV cameras of high resolution capacity with night vision, but not a single camera was covering the spot where the suspect car was parked, barely 10 metres from the petrol pump on Bundgarden Road. "We have checked the CCTV footage but the portion of the road where the car was parked was not covered by the cameras," said Ankush Jagtap, manager of the pump, adding that the petroleum company had recently put up seven cameras in the first week of September.
>> Police Inspector (Crime) Sudhakar Kate said: "We suspect the car was parked last night. We are trying to trace the owner of the car."