With defunct cameras, five-star hotels in the NCR are anything but safe
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With defunct cameras, five-star hotels in the NCR are anything but safe

A recent incident where two young men stole a loaded jewellery bag from a wedding reception held at a five-star hotel in Gurgaon has raised some serious concerns.   

With defunct cameras, five-star hotels in the NCR are anything but safe

Late Saturday night, two thieves allegedly switched a bag containing jewellery worth atleast Rs 70 lakh from the banquet of The Leela Ambience, a five-star hotel in Gurgaon. The incident has drawn considerable flak on the existing state of electronic surveillance and security in the premier hotels of the city.

Bharat Sawhney, a victim of the recent jewellery theft, said, “Ideally, in an area of 9,000 square feet there should be at least eight to ten cameras. However, for the same floor space only three cameras must have been functional at the venue. Not surprisingly, the management of the hotel was hesitating to hand over the footage and later admitted that the cameras were not working.”

According to Gurgaon Police, a few cameras were not working at the time of the incident. The only camera that showed the image of the youth escaping turned up blurry footage, making the two unrecognisable. This fact points to the poor quality of CCTV cameras in five-star properties.

Speaking to City Spidey, Inspector Sudeep Singh, SHO DLF Phase 2, who is investigating the case, said, “We are verifying if the employees of the hotel could be involved in the conspiracy. We have detained all their fourth-grade employees. We shall also inspect the footage and photographs taken by the photographer who was clicking the wedding pictures.”

Ironically on Saturday morning a similar incident had also occurred at the Westin, another five-star property in Gurgaon. There is a possibility that the two incidents are related. But one thing is certain - both hotels have major security issues.

Nidhi Verma, spokesperson for Leela Ambience, dismisses Sawhney's allegation. She says, “The safety and security of our guests is of utmost importance and all CCTV footages have been handed over to the police. However, some of the footage is slightly blurred and therefore the faces of the people cannot be identified. I guess this is why the guests have labelled our cameras defunct. We have more than 180 cameras that are regularly checked and in proper working condition.”

With visits of VVIP’s (like the visit of the Delhi CM and Cherie Blair) in the pipeline, one wonders if Verma’s rather casual explanation on the state of security is assuring at all?