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Mumbai, Jan 28: JanMumbai has been on a high security alert ever since the 7/11 terror attacks, but the Special Branch — a critical component of this security detail — has been busy during this period preparing poll reports for the Home Ministry, headed by deputy chief minister and NCP leader RR Patil.

The Special Branch’s poll report — which was supposed to be an indicator of the trends in the forthcoming civic election — pointed to a Congress victory. According to a police source, the Home Ministry, which is controlled by the NCP, wanted a report that showed it in a better position than the fourth-place finish that the report predicted.

The Home Ministry then got the Branch to rework the report, says the source. “As if other intelligence efforts were not keeping us occupied, a more exhaustive exercise on the civic poll outcome was sought,” he said.

A Home Ministry official denied that two reports had been sought. “Let us be very clear; the Special Branch conducts such studies and submits reports as part and parcel of its regular job,” he clarified.

According to the first poll report submitted by the Special Branch, the Congress and the Shiv Sena were expected to get 75 seats each, the BJP 30 and the NCP 20. Ten were to go to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and 17 to independents.

The second report prepared by the Branch showed the Congress winning an overwhelming 85 seats, the Shiv Sena 70, the BJP 25 and the NCP just 10.

This was, according to the police source, even more unacceptable to the Home Ministry and its NCP controllers.


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