The Pune police have once again lost vital clues in the Maoist posters case with CCTV cameras installed by Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) at some prominent junctions through which the suspects are believed to have passed remaining non-operational.
The sleeper cell of the banned Naxal outfit Communist Party of India (CPI-Maoist) is believed to have put up the posters at strategic spots on March 23.
Initiating a probe,the special branch of Pune police started looking for clues from CCTV cameras around the spots where the posters were found. The footage from a CCTV camera at Patrakar Bhavan showed posters being put up by three youths who arrived on a motorcycle around 11 pm on March 23 but it was too blurred to be of any use to the investigators.
Some posters were found at the junction near Balgandharva Rang Mandir and at Shramik Bhavan near PMC headquarters. Police suspect the youths may have travelled on motorcycle from Balgandharva to Shramik Bhavan through the junction where a CCTV camera was installed under the Intelligence Traffic System (ITS) project by the PMC.
The special branch wrote to PMC seeking CCTV footage from cameras installed at Banlgandharva junction. As the cameras installed by PMC under ITS project,meant for keeping a check on traffic violations,are of superior quality,police expected to get vital clues like the number of the motorcycle used and the faces of the youths.
On April 5,PMC traffic planning department replied to Pune police that the footage cannot be provided as CCTV cameras were not operational.
When contacted,Shrinivas Bonala,additional city engineer of PMC said,The cameras are not functioning as there is a dispute over connectivity. We have floated tenders for connection and hope to make the CCTV functional soon. CCTVs under ITS are not for surveillance,but keeping a watch on traffic violations.
Officials said that as part of the ITS,PMC had installed 70 cameras across the city but the contractor appointed for connectivity discontinued services citing non-payment of bills by the civic body.
PMC repeatedly floated tenders for implementation of the ITS project,but so far nothing has taken off. Even Deputy CM Ajit Pawar had announced Rs 30 crore for installing CCTV cameras in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad after the J M Road blasts in August 2012. However,this ambitious project involving purchase of 1,000 CCTV cameras is yet to take off.
Police had failed to get crucial clues in the J M Road blasts as CCTV cameras of PMC on this road were non-operational. Now,police have missed out clues on suspects allegedly having links to Maoists and who intelligence agencies believe planned to spread their base in Pune. Last year on March 23,the CPI-Maoist allegedly put up posters in the city demanding unconditional release of Kobad Ghandy,Vijay,Vikram,Madanlal,Mahesh,Bhanu and Anjela Sontakke.