Saturday, December 2, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Man intrudes into Naval chief’s house
Shoots at security guard, escapes

Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 1 — In a major breach of security an unidentified man intruded into the residence of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar, here early this morning and shot at and injured a security guard before escaping under cover of darkness.

While the Naval Headquarters today set up a Board of Inquiry to go into the lapses which led to the incident, authoritative sources in the Navy did not rule out the possibility of the involvement of Kashmiri militants in the attack. Security around the Naval House, the official residence of the Chief of Naval Staff on Rajaji Marg, has been beefed up after the incident.

The Board of Inquiry headed by Capt Uday Rao would go into how the intruder managed to gain entry into the Naval House, what was the motive and how he managed to escape.

Reports said the incident took place at about 50 minutes past midnight and the intruder fired at the commando who was on the security duty immediately after being confronted. The injured security guard also returned the fire but was unable to hit the intruder.

This is probably the first time that an intruder has managed to breach the high-security cordon which is put around the residences of the three Chiefs of Staff. The local police which was informed about the incident immediately after, has launched a massive manhunt in the Capital and the adjoining areas to trace the intruder.

According to the Joint Commissioner of Police (New Delhi Range), Mr Suresh Roy, who had also visited the spot immediately after the incident, an electric wire and cordex, a substance used to trigger explosives, wrapped in a polythene bag, were recovered from the shoot-out spot. The police did not rule out the possibility of the intruder carrying explosives with him. It was not clear how the intruder escaped from the Naval House which is also right opposite the residence of former Prime Minister V.P. Singh which also has strong security around it.

Men from the Delhi Police’s Special Branch (anti-terrorist squad), the Crime Branch and intelligence agencies are jointly investigating the incident under the direct supervision of Commissioner of Police (Delhi) Ajai Raj Sharma.

All exit and entry points of the Capital were being closely monitored and criminal hideouts and some guesthouses in the walled city and New Delhi areas were being searched to nab the intruder.

The incident occurred at 12.50 a.m. when the injured guard, Satbir, and his colleague, Vinod Naik, were patrolling the premises of the Admiral, Mr Roy said.

While Satbir was patrolling he asked Vinod Naik to call the commando guard who would relieve him. As soon as Vinod went to the guard room, Satbir saw the intruder.

The intruder fired from his weapon when Satbir challenged him. In exchange Satbir reportedly fired 20 rounds from his service gun (MP 5) “abruptly”. However, the intruder managed to escape under cover of darkness. Satbir received injuries on his left thigh.

Satbir was initially admitted to Naval Hospital on Dalhousie Road. He was later shifted to Army Base Hospital in the Delhi cantonment area after first-aid where his condition is stated to be stable. The bullet pierced the thigh and went clean without damaging the bone, Navy sources said.

According to Satbir, the intruder was at a distance of hardly 12 feet but he could not identify him.

He, however, said “the intruder was a tall and thin man”. “He could not even see the weapon used by the intruder”, the Joint Commissioner of Police said.

Mr Roy said the police reached the spot immediately after receiving a call in the PCR but it was not allowed to enter the premises of the Naval Chief for one hour. The police team had to wait outside.

Besides the local police a team of the Crime Branch, the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, the Dog Squad and the Bomb Disposal Squad also visited the spot. However, it could not find out with which bullet the intruder fired at the victim.

The Joint Commissioner of Police said, “The victim apparently fired abruptly at the intruder and all rounds missed their target. Bullet spots were visible on the walls of the premises and bullets were also recovered from there. However, the bullet fired by the intruder could not be recovered from the spot”.

However, the Joint Commissioner said the intruder might have barged in from the rear side of the house because tight security is deployed on the front side and heavy fencing is also made. Fencing is not so strong on the rear side.

He further said there no fresh cutting of the fencing was visible to suggest the entry of the intruder.

A case under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 452 (house trespass after preparation for hurt, assault and wrongful restraint) of the IPC and Section 4 of the Explosive Substance Act has been registered. 


Hand of militants suspected
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 1 — The hand of foreign mercenaries operating in the trouble-torn state of Jammu and Kashmir is not being ruled out in the intrusion into the residence of the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sushil Kumar today.

Highly placed sources in the Navy said that the threat perception to the Chief of Naval Staff had increased over the past few months, specially after he started receiving threatening letters and calls. It was now being suspected that the threats were from militants.

According to reports, the Naval Chief had been receiving threatening letters for the past three months, but he had ignored them. However, over the past two months, the frequency of not only the threatening letters, but also the calls had increased.

Sources said that the threats were in regard to the deployment of the Marcos — the Naval commandos — in Kashmir, who apparently had been doing a fabulous job. The Marcos have been in the valley ever since Operation Vijay in Kargil and had been giving the militants a bullet for the bullet. The Marcos were still posted in the valley, which was irking the militants, reports said.

Apparently, the security around Admiral Sushil Kumar had been beefed up, specially after Kargil as the government had felt that threats to him had increased. However, the matter of his receiving the threats was not reported.

Sources said that after the increase in the threat perception, not only were the Marcos added to the security ring around the Naval Chief, but some were also posted at the Naval House.

Efforts are under way to figure out how the intruder gained entry into the Naval House. It is being suspected that he gained entry from the house next to the Naval House on Rajaji Marg. The house next door is apparently lying vacant and could have been used to gain entry.

It is also being suspected that not only was the intruder carrying explosives, but could also be having some accomplices with him. This is because he escaped without leaving a trace and that too from the high security zone at that late hour of the night.

It is being suspected that some of his accomplices could possibly have been waiting outside and with a vehicle which facilitated the escape.

Meanwhile, reports also say that initially there was jurisdiction problem in the case. Although the police was informed and it reached the spot, it was reluctant in taking immediate action as the security in and around the Naval House is primarily the responsibility of the Navy’s own security personnel.

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