KARNATAKA

Security lapse to blame for cash disappearance?

MYSORE, AUG. 1. Was it lapse in security that led to the mysterious disappearance of Rs. 50 lakhs during transit from the Reserve Bank of India Note Mudranalaya here to Thiruvanathapuram?"

The question assumes significance in view of a series of alleged "security lapses" reported in the printing unit in recent times and which was reportedly brought to the notice of the authorities in a meeting held in Bangalore on June 30, 2004.

Officials apprised

Senior officials of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) were reportedly apprised of the security lapse in the Mysore unit at a meeting attended by some employees from Mysore and Salgoni printing units and led by their union president and former MLA, A. Ramdas.

Mr. Ramdas told that a retired official was allegedly given free access to the printing unit in Mysore in violation of the RBI regulations, which forbid unauthorised entry of either present or past employees to the campus. However, the said official is said to have had a free run and the rules were allegedly flouted and this was brought to the notice of the RBI officials during the meeting, Mr. Ramdas said.

Bogies not locked

He cited another instance where the RBI officials here allegedly failed to lock and seal the railway bogies, which were loaded with currency chests. This came to the notice of the railway authorities en route, who detached the bogies and provided security for them till they were locked and sealed in the presence of the RBI officials before they were allowed to proceed, Mr. Ramdas claimed.

Likewise, a senior official of the RBI here was alleged to have taken home the expensive ink used for printing currency notes. "The Optically Variable Ink, as it is called, is meant for the exclusive use of the RBI for printing currency notes and is manufactured under stringent security only at Rajasthan and the formula is a closely guarded secret. Each kilo of the ink costs around Rs.1.3 lakhs, and the RBI here receives a consignment once a fortnight. But the ink was taken home by the senior officer and I brought this to the notice of the higher authorities," Mr. Ramdas alleged.

Recently, currency notes valued at Rs.400 crores were said to have been left in the open in the printing unit for want of packing material which, Mr. Ramdas said, was a major breach of security norm. "Had the authorities taken steps, then the present case could have been averted," he added.

Official declines

to comment

The General Manager of the printing unit here, V.V. Lakshminarayanan, refused to comment on the issue or deny the allegations levelled by Mr. Ramdas.

When his attention was drawn to the June 30 meeting held at Bangalore, Mr. Lakshminarayanan said: "I don't know anything about it. Mr. Ramdas is the union leader and is into union activities and I cannot comment on them. You have the right to ask any question and I have the right not to answer them."

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