Security breach near Taj during Sarkozy's visit

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Agra, Jan 26 (UNI) A major security breach took place here as French President Nicolas Sarkozy arrived to see the Taj this afternoon.

Two private taxis, with Delhi registration numbers, entered the French President's huge entourage as it reached Shilpagram, about a km from the Taj Mahal.

Massive security arrangements were put in place in and around the Taj for the high-profile visit.

A large posse of the Uttar Pradesh police manned lanes and by-lanes near the 17th century monument and did not allow anybody to cross the barricades erected at various points on the way to both eastern and western gates, leading to the Taj.

The district administration had been very strict with the security arrangements and even the journalists were not allowed to go inside the monument and asked to wait at some distance from the Taj.

Only 12 photojournalists from some selected organisations were allowed to go inside the premises, but that too up to a certain point.

However, the French mediapersons accompanied Mr Sarkozy inside the monument.

The police personnel and intelligence officials noticed the two taxis as the French President's cavalcade entered the Shilpagram from where Mr Sarkozy along with his delegation, comprising officials, businessmen and journalists, boarded the battery-operated buses at Shilpagram for the Taj.

The police and intelligence officials later asked the taxi drivers to leave the place without questioning.

A local photojournalist had even noted the registration numbers of the taxis.

When contacted, a senior police official denied any security breach, saying strict security measures were adopted during the VIP visit.

UNI AG SHB AS1720

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