Delhi Police To Court On Parliament Intruders

Four accused in the Parliament smoke attack have been sent to police custody for a week. New Delhi: The

Delhi Police To Court On Parliament Intruders

Four accused in the Parliament smoke attack have been sent to police custody for a week.

New Delhi:

The two men at the heart of the Parliament security breach had pamphlets they wanted to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi – who was not present – police told a Delhi court this evening. The intruders, including the two from outside Parliament, also had a pamphlet calling the PM a “missing person” and offering a cash reward from a Swiss bank for relevant information, the cops claimed.

The four intruders – Sagar Sharma, D Manoranjan, Neelam Devi, and Amol Shinde – were arrested minutes after the smoke scare yesterday, and produced before a Delhi court today. A fifth person – Vicky Sharma, at whose Gurugram home the others met – and his wife have also been arrested.

A sixth person – Lalit Jha from Bihar, believed to be the mastermind – is on the run.

The police sought custody for 15 days, arguing they needed time to take the four to Mumbai (where the smoke canisters were bought) and Lucknow (where shoes used to smuggle the canisters were bought), as well as uncover possible “terrorist” angles. The police also suggested more people may have been involved in the smoke attack “because a common man cannot work with such planning”.

READ | 4 Accused In Parliament Security Breach Sent To Police Custody For 7 Days

The police also told the court the motives of those involved are, so far, unclear. Yesterday, the four who popped the canisters reportedly told police they wanted to highlight issues like joblessness and the ethnic violence in Manipur, and that they wanted to bring these to MPs’ attention.

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The court, however, only ordered seven-day custody of the accused, who face charges under the stringent anti-terror law UAPA and multiple sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Earlier today, police sources told NDTV the mastermind – Jha, who hails from Bihar and was a teacher in Kolkata till the incident yesterday – had last been seen near Neemrana in Rajasthan.

READ | Breach Mastermind Last Seen In Rajasthan, He Fixed Date, Filmed Smoke Scare

Jha, who was also supposed to be inside Parliament but did not get a visitor’s pass, instead filmed the protest outside and uploaded it online before fleeing. He also grabbed the others’ mobile phones before he fled. Police believe there may be evidence on those devices, which Jha might try to erase.

Parliament resumed today but there were multiple adjournments as opposition MPs protested the security breach and demanded statements from either the PM or Home Minister Amit Shah. 

Fourteen opposition lawmakers – 13 from the Lok Sabha – have been suspended for the rest of the Winter Session, prompting further outrage. Also, the protesting politicians have criticised the governemnt for having taken no action, so far, against the MP who issued passes to the intruders.

READ | “Does BJP Understand Democracy?” DMK’s Kanimozhi After 14 MPs Suspended

Mysuru MP Prathap Simha met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla last evening to explain that his office had only issued a request for passes and had no further information about what was to come.

Meanwhile, as of last night, Parliament security protocols have been revamped and tightened. Visitors have, for now, been banned from entry, and that of non-essential staff has been controlled.

The smoke scare yesterday came on the 22nd anniversary of a terrorist strike on the old Parliament building, in which nine people, including eight security staff, were killed. Five terrorists were eliminated.

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