On high alert for Kumbh, ATS crippled by manpower shortage
The Uttar Pradesh anti-terror squad has been put on high alert by central agencies for Kumbh 2013, which is being held from January 14 to March 10 at Allahabad.
Source said the UP government, DGP headquarters, state intelligence headquarters and the ATS had been sent inputs twice in the last 15 days regarding activities of terror outfits in order to disturb the peace at Kumbh.
The ATS, which is the nodal agency that interacts with central intelligence agencies, stationed a team of commandos led by Deputy SP Anurag Darshan at the Kumbh a week ago.
However, the squad has a drastic shortage of manpower and officers. The ATS has been without an IG for over three years while the post of SSP has been vacant since last January. There are vacancies of six additional SPs, and against the requirement of nine deputy SPs there are only four.
The squad is headed by DIG Rajeev Sabharwal, who was promoted as IG on December 31 and is awaiting a fresh posting. Similar is the case of Rajesh Kumar Pandey, the only ASP, who was recently promoted to IPS.
The ATS was set up by the previous Mayawati government after the serial blasts in the district courts of Lucknow, Faizabad and Varanasi in November 2007.
DIG Rajeev Krishna, SSP Rajeev Sabharwal and ASPs Umesh Kumar Singh, H N Singh and Lalit Kumar Singh, besides some deputy SPs, were posted with the ATS. The then Lucknow zone IG A K Jain headed it.
Later, the government created two posts of IGs, two of DIGs and four of SSPs and divided the state into three zones for more effective anti-terror operations, namely east, central and west.
However, the arrangement lasted for only about eight months because of infighting among the officials. Both IGs and all four SSPs were removed.