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Now, rigorous check before providing security to state guests

NT NETWORK

Panaji

The Goa Police will now conduct an independent verification when asked to provide security to state guests.

The decision comes in the wake of the recent incident wherein a conman posed as a cooperative minister from Uttar Pradesh and enjoyed his stay in Goa along with his four accomplices for almost ten days at the cost of state government exchequer.

Sources said that the Goa Police had provided a personal security officer (PSO) to the ‘minister’ in question based on a recommendation made by the protocol department, which was the practice.

However, now the police department will independently undertake a cross-check with the concerned state, if there is any request for security. This is

important especially in terms of the security aspect, said a police officer.

Last week on Sunday, the Crime Branch police had arrested the conman Sunil Singh (48) and his four accomplices Ashutosh Shukla, Dhiraj Mishra, Ajay Tiwari and Shrikant Garg. The accused are in police custody and police are in the process of checking their antecedents. The main accused Singh claimed to be a PhD holder in sociology while his accomplice Tiwari claimed to be a graduate. All aspects will be verified including their criminal background, if any, said a police officer.

Incidentally, the appearance of Singh is similar to the person he impersonated, Uttar Pradesh Cooperative Minister Mukut Bihari Verma. An official from Verma’s office, when contacted, said that they became aware of the impersonator through media reports. They were unaware who Sunil Singh was. The official also said that there is no minister by the name of Sunil Singh and that the UP Minister for Cooperation is Mukut Bihari Verma.

It may be noted that on Friday, Minister for Protocol Mauvin Godinho had said that he will assess the entire episode involving the fraudulent minister from Uttar Pradesh. Godinho said that in order to avoid such incidents in future, the government will put a system in place wherein the moment somebody arrives in the state, a verification will be carried out to ascertain whether the particular person is indeed a minister or not.

According to police, violation of some protocol and behaviour unmasked the conman, who enjoyed his stay in Goa at the cost of government funds. The motive of the accused was to avail government facilities such as accommodation, vehicles including a personal security officer (PSO) free of cost, said sources.

A complaint in this regard was lodged by the protocol department, Porvorim. The accused had managed to book accommodation and other facilities in the circuit house, located at Altinho in Panaji, after sending a communiqué on an alleged forged letterhead to the protocol department of Goa, said sources.

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