NEW DELHI: Congress on Thursday raised concerns over a “serious” security breach in party president Rahul Gandhi’s security cover in Amethi, but clarified that no formal complaint over the alleged lapse was lodged with the Union Home ministry.
Reacting to media reports on the alleged breach of security, however, MHA spokesperson said, “MHA has not yet received any letter regarding the alleged breach in security of Congress President Rahul Gandhi. However, as soon as MHA’s attention was drawn to reports that there was an incident of “green light” being pointed at him yesterday in Amethi, the Director (SPG) was asked to verify the factual position.”
The MHA spokesperson added that the video clips were examined very closely. “Director (SPG) has informed MHA that they have gone through the Video Clipping of the incident very closely. The “green light” shown in the clipping was found to be that of a mobile phone used by the AICC photographer, who was videographing the impromptu press interaction of Rahul Gandhi near the collectorate at Amethi. Director (SPG) has also informed MHA that this position was conveyed to the personal staff of Shri Rahul Gandhi. Dir (SPG) has confirmed that there was no security implication whatsoever,” the spokesperson said.
On Thursday morning, a letter purportedly written to Home minister Rajnath Singh and bearing signatures of three Congress seniors, Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Surjewala, was leaked, and which sought to draw the Centre’s attention to a green laser light being pointed at Rahul Gandhi’s head while he was giving a media byte after filing his nomination in his parliamentary constituency Amethi on Wednesday.
“A perusal of his media interaction will reflect that a laser (green) was pointed at his head, intermittently on at least 7 separate occasions in a short period; including twice at his temple on the right side of the head. A perusal of the video by several persons including former security personnel leads to a prima facie conclusion that this laser could emanate from a potential weapon such as a sniper gun,” the letter said. It also sought Home minister Rajnath Singh’s immediate action to “investigate and neutralise the threat, if any” and to ensure full security protocol to ensure Gandhi’s safety.
While both the video and letter were circulated widely on social media and in Congress-run whatsapp groups, the party later said denied knowledge of it. “There is no letter, no complaint. Let me make it very clear that the obligation of security especially during election time and in particular for an SPG protectee is squarely on the SPG, the security forces, and ultimately, in some sense on the MHA. I have no doubt that they are aware of their responsiblity to discharge their duties as the ultimate protector, just like they would discharge for every other SPG protectee, be it the Congress president or the PM of this country or any other head of any other party who has an SPG protection,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
Expressing “deep shock and distress” over the alleged threat to the Congress president, the letter had cited the assassinations of former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi and said that in view of Rahul Gandhi being a “high risk target”, the ministry must act immediately.