Those were the days when I was working for an organization, where I was responsible to manage general administration as well. Including other administrative tasks, the security of the premises was my responsibility. We had two types of security arrangements there: 1- A security company was responsible to guard the premises; and buildings, installations, assets, and people in the premises, 2- We had our own security people deployed on key points, along with the security company’s personnel. Our security supervisors were responsible to keep an eye on the performance of the security company as well. I was not satisfied with, and was very much concerned about, the performance of the security company. In fact, I had sent my recommendation to my seniors and the head office to change the company.

One morning, when I entered the premises, my security supervisor, Mr. X, came to me in a hurry and said,

“Sir! You know what happened last evening?”

I said, “What’s wrong? What are you talking about? Tell me clearly!”

He said,

“Last evening, at around 5:30, the armed guard (employee of the security company) at our barrier-1 stopped a car for routine checkup and to confirm the identity process. What he discovered was some very sensitive and illegal stuff in the boot of the car. He immediately blew the whistle to alert his supervisor Mr. Y, who was sitting almost 50 yards away. Mr. Y rushed to the scene, but during this, the suspected car ran away in reverse gear. I called senior officials of the organization. They immediately arrived. The head office was also informed, and senior people from there reached within minutes. The senior management informed the local police and the police arrived within 15 minutes. Our officials, the local police, and the security company’s officials (who also arrived) spent the entire night here but still no clue about the runaway car.”

I got very angry by listening to my supervisor and asked, “Why didn’t you call me immediately, when all this happened?” He said, “Sir you left at 4 p.m. (my working hours were 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.). I was just calling you but the seniors prevented me to do so. They thought you might be tired and it is better not to disturb you.” In my opinion, that was none of a justification. I went straight to my boss and repeated my question. His answer was the same as of Mr. X. I cleared to my boss that the security was my responsibility and I must have been informed. Then I contacted my top management and my head office. They all admitted that it was their negligence if I was not informed in time. After this brief quarrel with the seniors, I decided to take over the case immediately, and officially informed the management about that. Though, the management was not very much willing, but they had to agree because security was in my domain, and that there was no clue about that car so far. After receiving OK signal, I started my investigation.

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I called Mr. Y, the supervisor of the security company, who first reported the incident. He told me,

” Yesterday evening, I was sitting at my place (that was an open place right in the center of the premises) when I heard a sharp whistle from the first barrier. It was around 5:30 p.m. I ran towards the barrier in emergency (the barrier was almost 50 meters away and straight in direction from there). Blowing a whistle by a guard means an emergency. When I reached there, I saw the guard at the barrier has stopped a car. He told me in haste that there was “something” in the car’s boot. I immediately called the guard at the second barrier (hardly 15 meters away from the first barrier) and two more guards. But within moments, the car jumped backward and out of the main gate. We could not open fire on the car, to burst its tires, because a large number of common people were there between the car and the armed guard. I instantly informed Mr. X and seniors of my company.”

I told him to put each and every detail in writing as his statement. He did so. I called Mr. X to record his statement. He wrote what he told me earlier, but he said he saw nothing. When he reached the scene, everything was over and normal. He sensed nothing unusual. Then I called the guard at second barrier (this guard was our own employee). He stated he saw nothing unusual at the first barrier (hardly 15 meters away and in front of him), and that Mr.Y had not called him to handle any emergency. After this, I called the two guards (both were employees of the security company), who were summoned on the scene by Mr. Y (according to his statement). One of the guard stated that he was on leave yesterday, while the other one said he received no such call.

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After recording the statements of the security people, I went to the CCTV control room to view yesterday’s footage of camera-1 and camera-2, between 5 p.m to 6.p.m. Both of the barriers, unfortunately, were out of the cameras’ range. Camera-1 covered the spot where Mr. Y used to set, while camera-2 covered the area just a couple of yards before the second barrier. Camera-1 showed that, at around 5:35 p.m., Mr. Y stood and walked gently with a stately movement, towards the barriers, with no haste or urgency. He passed through the range of camera-2 with the same normal pace. At 5:45 p.m. he walked back to his position. Focusing on the footage of camera-2, I spotted many of our organization’s office workers, probably leaving the office after completing their day’s duty. The only way out from the office was to cross the barriers. In this footage, I noted the leaving-time of these workers, which was 5:30 p.m., 5:34 p.m., 5:35 p.m., 5:37 p.m. (when Mr.Y was also came in the camera’s range, walking towards the barriers.), and 5:40 p.m. I called all those employees and recorded their statements too. They all said they saw nothing unusual or no scene of emergency.

After watching the footage and getting all the statements, I called Mr. Y with the guard of the first barrier and put everything in front of them. I asked ” Why did you do that drama? Should I hand you over to police”. Mr. Y broke out and said, ” Nothing happened yesterday. It was just a false drama and I staged it with the help of the guard of the first barrier and some officials of my company. We know your organization was going to cancel our agreement. So we were desperate to do something to prove our efficiency, to save our company from expulsion, and to safeguard our reputation.” I said, “Do you know how dreadful you done? It is a very serious crime you committed just to prove your false efficiency.” I, however, took their written confessions. It took me almost hour and half to prepare a detail report and to present it to my seniors and to email it to my head office. The investigation started at 8:30 a.m. and the report sent at 5 p.m. I strongly recommended immediate termination of the security company’s agreement, and to take appropriate legal action against all those who were behind this nasty joke. My seniors agreed on immediate termination of the contract, but they decided to leave the company to pack up silently.

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My instant decision to take up the case proved to be very timely and right. Taking timely but right decisions needs proactive approach, but I am still wondering why and how I stood on my decision to take over that case. It was pretty sure that my senior management never wanted my involvement in the investigation of the case.

Next morning, when I arrived at my office, I was stunned to see that the head of my organization was patting the shoulder of my boss, congratulating him on his yesterday’s “outstanding performance” to unearth the drama; and the boss was bowing under the weight of his “submissiveness”. The head was promising him a great reward for what he did for the organization. I was indecisive as who was more professionally dishonest, the security company for what they did or my boss? I am still indecisive.