Around 1 am on Saturday, guards at Home Minister R R Patil’s residence raised an alarm about an intruder loitering in the passage area.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy and Deputy Commissioner of Police (protection) Harvinder Kaur Varaich rushed to the spot.
Meanwhile, a convoy of more than 50 guards comprising SRPF jawans, officials from the protection unit of Mumbai police, and other staff stationed at Chitrakoot intercepted the offender and succeeded in overpowering him.
Turns out the man who breached the Z+ security at Patil’s Malabar Hill bungalow is Shankar Mahadev Phand (batch no 788), a part of the SRPF platoon stationed at Chitrakoot.
“It is still not clear why he (Phand) entered the house. During interrogation he initially told us that he is suffering from hydrocoele (pathological accumulation of serous fluid in a body cavity). Just a few hours before the incident he took some medication and was feeling hungry. Later, he changed tack and claimed he entered the house seeking shelter from the heavy rain,” said sub-inspector Krishna Sontakke, who heads the SRPF platoon at Chitrakoot.
Officials are still foggy as to how the jawan managed to dodge the security cover and went undetected till he reached the passage area inside the
“Phand told us he had gone in through the door. But we doubt his claims as two guards stand there round the clock. It is quite possible that he entered through the kitchen window, as he was hungry,” said another SRPF jawan deployed at Chitrakoot.
Preliminary inquiries revealed that Phand, who is attached to the A company of the SRPF unit, was recently roped in for the home minister’s security because of shortage of staff. He had been suffering from hydrocoele for the last several years and was on heavy medication.
Irrespective of what his motive was, Phand has been called back to his original unit (A company) by SRPF higher-ups. A departmental inquiry has also been initiated against him.
Since the matter pertains to the security of the home minister, most police officials remained tight-lipped. Joint commissioner of police Himanshu Roy neither denied nor confirmed the episode. When MiD DAY contacted him, he said, “I would not like to comment on the matter.”
Additional director general of police (SRPF) Raghunath Mangaonkar emphatically denied that the miscreant belonged to the special force. While speaking to MiD DAY he said, “The guard belonged to some other outfit and not SRPF.”