Why spend on CCTVs that don't work: MLAs

The thrashing of Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi at the Vidhan Bhavan has revealed how Rs 68 lakh the cost to install 28 CCTV cameras at the legislative assembly has gone down the drain, as the footage captured is reportedly inconclusive. The incident has again raised concerns about the efficiency of the cameras and the expenses incurred to install them.

MLAs Ram Kadam and Kshitij Thakur appeared before the Deshmukh Committee yesterday to answer questions related to the case of API Sachin Suryavanshi’s thrashing. The panel will review the CCTV footage today. File pic

Additionally, sources said that the CCTV cameras failed to capture any images as the incident occurred too far from the cameras. The 28 cameras are not positioned at the main building, and most of them have been installed outside the building to keep an eye on movements around the premises. A source added that very few cameras have been installed at the main entrance of the building than originally planned. The cameras are positioned near Inox, Maharshi Walmiki Chowk, and the roads leading to Vidhan Bhavan, said another official.

The surveillance was set up after a plan had been floated in 2011 to install 128 CCTV cameras in and around the sprawling Vidhan Bhavan premises. But according to sources, the funds lapsed owing to the alleged inaction of the cops, in charge of setting them up. A senior official said that the DGP’s office failed to act in time. Out of Rs 5 crore earmarked for the purpose, Rs 3.75 crore was finally made available.

But the DGP could not complete the process in the financial year. Having no other option, the state secretariat took up the task. Following that, in 2012, it was decided that 28 cameras would be installed and bids were invited following which a consultant was appointed and Rs 68 lakh was spent on the project.

Deshmukh panel
Meanwhile, API Suryavanshi appeared before the Deshmukh Committee, which is probing the incident and answered 60 to 70 questions about the episode. A questionnaire was handed to him and members of the committee heard his side, sources said.

He was calm and answered all the questions as per the statement given to the Crime Branch. Soon after, suspended MLAs Ram Kadam and Kshitij Thakur appeared before the panel. The committee headed by Ganpatrao Deshmukh will also go through the footage of the thrashing today.

The number of CCTV cameras that were to be installed according to the plan in 2011

Number of CCTV cameras that are currently installed

MLA Ram Kadam

Ram Kadam writes letter to top cop
Ghatkopar MLA Ram Kadam has sent a letter to Commissioner Dr Satyapal Singh after his police cover was withdrawn. Kadam said that except the ongoing controversy, the cases cited against him were of a political nature. In fact, the police chief himself in 2009 felt police protection was necessary after the incident involving a brawl with Samajwadi MP Abu Azmi. “I have written a letter to Dr Singh and conveyed my views,” said Kadam.  

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