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Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter II

Section 10

10. Sequence of events prior to Cabinet decision on security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi

Sequence of Events Prior to Cabinet Decision on Security for Shri. Rajiv Gandhi

12 A reconstruction of what transpired during the interim period after Shri Rajiv Gandhi demitted the post of the Prime Minister, and till SPG protection was replaced with alternative security, gives a comprehensive picture of the considerations which shaped the final decision of the Cabinet approving provision of alternative security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

The sequence is as follows :-

DECEMBER 2, 1989 :-

Shri V.P. Singh becomes new Prime Minister of India. Shri Rajiv Gandhi becomes leader of the opposition.

DECEMBER 4, 1989 :


12.1 Two meetings - both held on 4.12.1989 by the Cabinet Secretary and attended by officials of the PMO, MHA, IB, R&AW, SPG and Delhi Police - inter alia discussed security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi in view of the changed scenario. The first meeting was held at 1200 hrs. while the second meeting, which was a follow up, was held at 1530 hrs. on the same day. An analysis of the decisions taken in the meetings shows that :-

Minutes of the first meeting (Annexure S- 10) indicate that the instructions, at present, were that Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family should be provided the same level of protection as hitherto. It was decided that SPG will continue to provide protection to ex-Prime Minister till a final decision is taken in this regard.

In this meeting, Director, SPG pointed out certain difficulties in maintaining the same level of security arrangements for the ex-Prime Minister particularly during local functions and tours outside Delhi. It was decided that a broadsheet should be drawn up by SPG, IB and Delhi Police indicating the standard security arrangements for Prime Minister and the arrangements for Prime Minister and the arrangements proposed to be made for the ex-Prime Minister; the directions of the Government will be sought thereafter.

The meeting also decided that IB and R&AW would furnish a threat assessment in respect of the ex- PM. It was decided that any modification of the level of protection to him will have to be based on the fresh threat assessment.

12.1.1 It has come in the evidence of Shri V.P. Singh before the Commission that it was he, who, as the new Prime Minister, issued instructions that SPG should continue to provide the same level of protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi till a final decision regarding his security arrangements was taken. He stated :-

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 24.10.1996

(Page No.7-8)

"The SPG personnel were extended for two months by an Executive order...... I communicated this to Mr.Deshmukh or Mr.Seshan and they must have executed the order ...... Unless final arrangements were not made, I did not want to disturb the existing arrangements....."

12.1.2 The follow up meeting, held on the same day, (4.12.89, Annexure S- 11), had an additional dimension. During discussions, the Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau, stated that the threat perception in respect of the ex-Prime Minister had changed; since he was no longer the Head of the Government, he now faced danger arising out of personal vendetta. This was a theoretical view which was expressed suo-motto by the representative of the Intelligence Bureau in this meeting without the benefit of any actual threat perception. On the contrary when the feedback on actual threat perceptions was received by the IB from its field units, it was found that the threat perception to Shri Rajiv Gandhi had actually increased after he demitted charge as Prime Minister. This aspect shall be dealt later.

This follow up meeting also unilaterally decided upon modification of security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi despite the existing instructions that he should be provided the same level of protection. The minutes of the meeting indicate that in the broadsheet drawn up regarding security to be provided to the ex-PM, it was evident that while the arrangements for close protection and for guarding the residence will be the same as before, the arrangements for the Delhi functions and tours outside Delhi will have to be modified in view of the changed situation.

It can be seen that this decision is contrary to the instructions that the same level of protection should continue. This modification is also not based on any corresponding reduction in threat perception.

At the beginning itself, confusion regarding Shri Rajiv Gandhi's security arises from contradictions in decisions taken by the same group of officers on the same day in two meetings.

DECEMBER 7th - 26th :-


12.2 On 7th December, 1989, as decided in the meeting of 4th December, the Intelligence Bureau sent a message to its field units (SIB) to furnish threat perception in respect of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure S- 13 )

12.2.1 SPG, which continued to provide protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi as per instructions, also insisted on threat perception reports in order to tailor the security requirements of Shri Rajiv Gandhi as per the requirements. In his letter dt. December 8th, 1989, (Annexure S- 22) to the Jt. Director, IB, Director SPG reiterated that " With reference to the ex-Prime Minister, we are so far continuing with the same arrangements as when he was Prime Minister. ... we will need to plan our security arrangements on the basis of an assessment of the threat .... The assessment may please be prepared on priority basis and shared with us. While preparing the threat assessment, kindly take into account all the reports received in the last four/five years which had indicated threats from specific areas and of specific types directed against Shri Rajiv Gandhi, and let us know how many of these still hold good, and if so, to what degree and extent."

12.2.2 It is noteworthy that the Special Protection Group (SPG) was fully prepared and geared to undertake the additional assignment of protecting Shri Rajiv Gandhi as ex- Prime Minister and his family , in addition to providing protection to the incumbent Prime Minister Shri V.P. Singh and his family. This willingness is evident from a correspondence dt. 9th and 10th December, 1989 between Delhi Police, SPG and Jt. Secy (Security)(Annexure S- 15 & 16).

On 9th December, 1989, (Annexure S- 15)The Delhi Police expressed its apprehension that in the changed scenario, it would not be able to provide the same level of protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi as was being provided by SPG hitherto. The Additional Commissioner of Police (S&T), Delhi Police, in his letter to Jt. Secretary (S), inter- alia stated :-

are concerned, it may be mentioned that the SPG has been working in an atmosphere which is sterile and also protected from outside by Delhi Police against forcible instrusions etc.

In the changed scenario the threat to ex-PM continues to be extremely high, but it may not be possible to provide entirely the same type of atmosphere in which the SPG is used to working.

Director, SPG, in his reply to this, on 10th December, 1989 (Annexure S- 16) informed Jt. Secretary (S) that :-

"As far as arrangements for the former PM are concerned, we will need to take decisions regarding the arrangements required to be continued/made, depending on the threat assessment that is still awaited from the IB. ... in case SPG is ordered to continue to provide security, we will take the decisions about the number of personnel to be deployed and fire power etc., At that stage we will also consult them about the arrangements if any, to be made by Delhi Police. In the SPG we have trained our officers to adapt themselves to different working conditions and the atmosphere around....

The above response of the Director SPG indicates the ability, flexibility, adaptability and willingness of the SPG to undertake this additional assignment in case instructions are issued.

On the other hand, the above correspondence also indicates that the Delhi Police, by their own admission, did not possess the expertise equal to SPG as far as protection of a highly threatened dignitary like Rajiv Gandhi was concerned.

12.2.3 Evidence available to the Commission indicates that even at this stage, when the process of finalising security arrangements for Rajiv Gandhi was underway, various sections of the public all over the country were exercised about the need to protect the life of Rajiv Gandhi. One example of such public concern is seen in a letter written to the President of India n 4th. December, 1989 by members of the Karnataka Citizen's Forum (Annexure S- 12), Bangalore. The applicants had appealed to the President in this letter to direct the Government of India to provide Special and Responsible Protection to former Prime Minister and AICC(I) President Mr. Rajiv Gandhi instead of the formal protection as announced by the Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr. V.P. Singh. The signatories of this letter warned that " ..even a momentary lapse can pose a threat to his life..... Mr. Rajiv Gandhi.... need more responsible protection now than before."

12.2.4 The process of some modifications in the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi appears to have begun with the decisions taken in the meeting of December 4th, 1989. It took concrete shape when Shri V.G. Vaidya, Additional Director, Intelligence Bureau, on 18.12.1989, wrote a D.O. letter to the Joint Secretary,(S) Cabinet Secretariat.( Annexure S- 25) offering the following comments with regard to modifications in security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi in response to Shri A.K. Deb's D.O. letter dated 8th. December, 1989, enclosing a draft of security arrangements on ad-hoc basis prepared by the Cabinet Secretary and Secretary (Security) Shri T.N. Seshan calling comments from I.B. by 9th. December, 1989 :-

"i) It may be appreciated that the responsibility for the security of the former PM and members of his family now rest with the State Government /Administration in whose jurisdiction he is present and who will make full protective arrangements.

ii) It is felt that the advance security liaison procedure is not now necessary in respect of Shri Rajiv Gandhi's functions either in Delhi or outside.

iii) The composition of the carcade will also have to be redesigned and reduced.

tours outside Delhi technical teams of the SPG need not be deputed and the task entrusted to the local Police who will be responsible for the security arrangements."

12.2.5 The rationale behind such decisions is unstated and does not appear to have any concrete basis. This was the second suggestion given by a representative of the Intelligence Bureau suo motto scaling down the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi based on unknown and unspecified considerations. Whether extraneous considerations shaped this thinking is a matter dealt with later in this chapter.

12.2.6 Shri T.N. Seshan, after waiting for some time for the I.B.'s comments prepared, on 14th. December, 1989, (Annexure S- 24) for the Prime Minister, a note on security arrangements on temporary basis for the P.M. and ex-P.M., mentioning that the Intelligence agencies have been asked to undertake a fresh assessment of threats likely to be faced by the Prime Minister as well as the ex-Prime Minister.

12.3 On December 26, 1989, in response to a fresh threat perception from R&AW pertaining to targeting of Shri Rajiv Gandhi by Sikh terrorists,(Annexure S- 27) Joint Director, Intelligence bureau, Shri K.N. Thakur put up a note (Annexure S- 28) to the Director IB seeking approval to prepare Security Rules for Rajiv Gandhi.

In this letter, he, inter-alia, pointed out that Director SPG had mentioned that `we are not able to provide the same level of security ( to Shri Rajiv Gandhi) as was being done earlier'.

The response of the Joint Director to this was that the attention and energies of the SPG should remain focused on the security of the incumbent PM and not diluted by expanding its charter to cover other dignitaries. In this manner, the thinking of the Intelligence Bureau becomes evident that they did not favour expansion of the charter of SPG.

As to the scale of security for the former PM, the Joint Director, IB , suggested that it must be ensured that he and his family members are provided effective, adequate, rational and functional security to meet the serious threat which Sikh extremists pose to him. But it was not necessary to provide point-to- point and rule-to- rule, the same security as is provided to the incumbent Prime Minister.

In the note, the Joint Director also admitted that security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members should be higher than those contemplated for the former President, Giani Zail Singh who also faced very high threat from Sikh extremists.

The JD IB enclosed draft rules for providing security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members keeping in view the above factors. He pointed out that the following security measures presently being practiced for the security of Rajiv Gandhi were not being practiced as per the rules for the security prepared for the former President :-

i) One pilot car with adequate security and fire power (there will also be one escort car).

ii) There will be a ring-round team always with the former PM which is not the case with the ex- President.

iii) Additional uniformed and plainclothes deployment have been provided at residence of ex- PM.

iv) During air journeys, one PSO may accompany the former PM at Govt. expense. ( this facility is not available to the former President )

v) Adequate protective law and order and traffic arrangements have been requested at the public and private functions attended by the former PM.



12.4 The then Cabinet Secretary Shri T.N. Seshan, who had presided over the meeting held on 4th December, 1989, followed up the matter by seeking to place all facts, as they existed, on record and to seek clear instructions regarding security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This effort is evident from his note dt. December 14th, 1989 on the subject of security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure S- 24) It was this note which ultimately resulted in the matter being taken up before the Cabinet.

The note begins by explaining in details the mechanics and modalities of PM security and the role of SPG.

The security being provided to the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi has been discussed in para 9 of the note which reads as follows :-

9."Security arrangements for the former Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi and members of his family are, by and large, continuing at the existing level. These arrangements, for the time being, continue to be provided by the SPG in pursuance of oral instructions, and comprise the following:

Close Protection Team of SPG officers provide proximate protection to the former PM whenever he may happen to be including his road journeys and functions.

The former PM continue at the same level and include implementation of strict access control, conduct of anti sabotage checks, checking and frisking of men and materials etc. Plain clothes personnel of the SPG are deployed in the isolation and inner cordons, while uniformed personnel of the SDG are deployed in the outer cordon. The Delhi Police have a deployment to cover approaches leading to the residence of the former PM.

iii) For functions to be attended by the former PM, for the time being, a joint advance security liaison will continue to be conducted by the SPG, IB and the Delhi Police. Anti Sabotage checks would be undertaken by the Delhi Police at the venue of functions about 2 to 4 hours prior to the function; they would also deploy plain clothes and uniformed personnel at the function sites.

prise a pilot car, the bullet proof car, escort cars, a spare car and an ambulance.

Icers of the IB and SPG will carry out advance security liaison. As regards coverage of venues, functions and places of night halt and deputing of technical teams for conduct of anti sabotage checks by the SPG, these are proposed to be continued for the present.

member of the former PM's family is provided a bullet proof car for road journeys, an escort car with a team of officers and a Personal Security Officer. Security arrangements for certain permanent locations like colleges attended by the two children are being made both by the Delhi Police and the SPG."

However, Shri T.N. Seshan, in the note proposed certain reduction in the security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. These reductions, as stated in his note, were :-

10. "Security arrangements for the former Prime Minister are proposed to be modified in the following manner:

i) During road journeys of the former PM there will be no deployment of police personnel on the route and no stoppage of traffic. Security on the route will however be ensured by the Delhi Police.

ii) Since the former PM will no longer be using IAF aircrafts, his journeys for domestic tours would have to be either by a commercial aircraft or by private aircraft. There will, therefore, be certain limitations in Security in the event of a journey by a commercial aircraft. However, during journeys by private aircraft, better security will be ensured.

iii) The need of a bullet proof car for the former PM during his domestic tours would depend on an assessment of the threat. The state Governments will be requested to provide bullet proof cars during such visits, provided such cars are available with the States."

The first objection on record regarding extension of SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi came in the form of comments on this note by Special Secretary to PM, Shri R.Vasudevan. The file indicates that he made the following notings on this issue on December, 20th 1989 (Annexure S- 26):-

3. "The note also sets out the detailed arrangements made for the former PM and the members of his family. There is one important aspect that needs to be highlighted. For proximate protection of the former PM., SPG is being used. However, the SPG Act,...clearly lays down that the members of the SPG can be used only to provide proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and the members of his immediate family. As such SPG with the former PM appears to be in contravention of the Law. In fact, the legal protection available to the members of SPG under Section 15 of the Act cannot be extended to the performance of their duties with former PM. This situation is obviously fraught with complications unless either the law is amended extending its scope to the former PM and his immediate family or the responsibility is clearly entrusted to the State/UT Police with the further dispensation that the trained SPG personnel could be taken on deputation by the State/UT administration for such purposes.

In the same note, Shri R. Vasudevan, gave a categorical suggestion to the Prime Minister ruling out the possibility of amending SPG Act to extend SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. He stated :-

6. "As already mentioned above, SPG can have no direct role whatsoever with reference to the security of the former Prime Minister....

7. The Ministry of Home Affairs is the concerned Ministry for VIP security. As such the task of former PM's security should be taken over by that Ministry.

{ (i) H.M. may be requested to review the { security arrangements of the former PM and his { immediate family in the light of threat X{ assessment; and { (ii) The responsibility for continued security for {the former PM and his immediate family should be {discharged by MHA.

sd- R.Vasudevan December 20,1989

Pr. Secretary"

The Principal Secretary to the PM, on the same day, endorsed this suggestion of the Special Secretary by observing that :-

" 'X' above is the correct course. MHA can take some SPG men on deputation, otherwise the SPG cannot have any legal cover as the Law stands today. It may not be advisable to amend the SPG law to cover such a contingency."

PM 20.12.89.

12.4.1 The above sequence as evident from this crucial file makes it amply clear that the proposal put up before the Prime Minister was unambiguous :-

- SPG protection cannot be legally extended to Shri Rajiv Gandhi unless the SPG Act is amended;

- It is not 'advisable' to amend SPG Act;

- Protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi should be provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

12.5 In this entire decision making, expert opinion is conspicuous by its absence. The glaring gaps in the areas which were required to be covered before making suggestions of such far reaching implications indicate that the bureaucrats involved in this exercise were not competent to undertake it without the assistance of experts in the field of security as well as legal experts. The most obvious example of such gaps is seen in the suggestion of Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister that it was not 'advisable' to amend the SPG Act to cover 'such a contingency'. On what legal or other considerations was this suggestion based have not been brought out in any oral or documentary evidence produced before the Commission. When asked by the Commission whether any legal opinion was sought at the time of taking such a view, Shri V.C. Pande, in his deposition dt. 21st. September, 1996, stated that :-

"To my knowledge, Law Ministry was not consulted regarding interpretation of the SPG Act for providing of security by SPG to Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

This aspect has been dealt later in details.

12.6 This file, alongwith the suggestions was put up to the Prime Minister, who, on 2nd. January, 1990, made a note in his own hand and initials "Put up before Cabinet". It is noteworthy that Shri T.N. Seshan's note of 14.12.89 was annexed to the suggestions made by Shri R. Vasudevan and Shri B.G. Deshmukh, and, on Shri T.N. Seshan's note of 14.12.89 Shri Vasudevan wrote " PM has indicated that CS may bring up this matter to the Cabinet" on 3.1.90. Shri T.N. Seshan's note was seen by Shri B.G. Deshmukh on 15.12.89.


13 Repeated references have come during the meetings as well as inter-departmental correspondence dealing with security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi that security arrangement to be made for Shri Rajiv Gandhi should be proportionate to the threat perception as assessed by intelligence agencies. It is, therefore, essential that the threat perception reports of this period furnished by the Intelligence Agencies be analysed.

13.1 An exercise in this regard had been initiated by the R&AW as well as the IB at the instance of Director SPG. The first threat assessment which came on record is seen to be the Threat Perception report of Cabinet Secretariat (R&AW) dated 9 Dec. 1989. (Annexure S- 23, Ex. 267). The threat assessment confines itself to threats to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi emanating from outside the country. The R&AW perceived that :

"The threat to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi from the Sikh extremist organisations would continue to be very high despite his leaving office following the elections."

Specific reasons stated for this assessment, as indicated in the report are :-

(a) "Many Sikh extremist elements abroad had vowed, after Operation Blue Star, to avenge the operation by having Mrs. Indira Gandhi as well as her entire family physically eliminated. Similar threats against Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family have been uttered ...... Such threats were also uttered ....after the hanging of Satwant Singh and Kehar Singh...... and the anti-sikh riots which had erupted in some places after the assassination of Mrs. Gandhi... the Sikh extremist organisations abroad have been alleging .... that since the imposition of the President's rule in the Punjab, a reign of terror had been let loose in the Punjab by the Government of India. They had blamed the Government for indulging in what they described as acts of state terrorism.

(b) Gurmej Singh Gill of the Babbar Khalsa, UK, had threatened on October 31, 1989, that Shri Rajiv Gandhi would be in trouble from the Sikhs as he was "a criminal responsible for the deaths of many innocent Sikhs and Muslims". He had also threatened that even if Shri Rajiv Gandhi was defeated in the elections, the Sikh community in India would not let him go unpunished "for his crimes".

The R&AW also perceived a tangible and grave threat to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi from other hostile organisations operating from outside India and acting in tandem. The report states :-

"There has recently been increasing cooperation between the Sikh extremist organisations abroad and the JKLF and other organisations of Kashmiri expatriates from the POK. All these organisations share a common anger against Shri Rajiv Gandhi....... Similarly, there is likely to be anger amongst Muslim fundamentalist elements abroad over the communal riots in Bihar before the general elections and over the developments connected with the Babri Masjid issue.

the extremist Sinhalese and Tamil elements from Sri Lanka as well as Nepali elements from Nepal are also likely to continue to nurse a grievance against Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

For these reasons,, it would be necessary to continue to provide effective protection against possible threats to life not only in the case of Shri Rajiv Gandhi but also to his wife and two children."

13.2 The Intelligence Bureau obtained a detailed feedback from its field units (SIB) regarding the prevailing threat perception to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi after he had ceased to be the Prime Minister. The reports of the field units, which should have formed the basis of the consolidated threat assessment of the Intelligence Bureau with regard to the threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, were categorical that threats to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi had not decreased after he demitted charge as Prime Minister; on the other hand, it was the perception of many field units that threats to his life had actually increased as he had become a more vulnerable target in the eyes of the terrorists. Some examples of this view are seen in the threat assessment reports from field units excerpted below. This aspect has been already dealt with in details in the earlier chapter on Threat Perceptions.

i) SIB MADRAS :- The threat perception input furnished to the IB HQs by the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau, Madras, on 12.12.1989, categorically stated that threat perception to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi had, in fact, increased from hostile Sri Lankan Tamil elements and Indian Tamil chauvinists after he ceased to be the Prime Minister. (Annexure S- 17)



(Annexure S- 18)

2. "...... as per our assessment the threat to the lives of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members persists to the same degree as when he was PM. The Sikh extremists may feel encouraged to attack Rajiv Gandhi in the huge that the security around him would not be stringent any longer."


(Annexure S- 20)

2. "Threat to the ex-PM from the Sikh extremists in India and abroad remains unchanged (.).....

3. With down-gradation of the physical security arrangement for the ex-PM, the possibility of hostile elements making attempts on his person would further increase. Rpt further increase(.).... "


(Annexure S- 19)

"Sh Rajiv Gandhi former Prime Minister, continues to be on the top of the hit list of extremist outfits like KCF, KLF, BTFK, Babbar Khalsa, fundamentalists owing allegiance to Dam Dami Taksal and AISSF militants for his inaction against those who were responsible for Anti Sikh riots of 1984 and for the alleged repressive measures adopted by the Govt. led by him ......."

13.3 The Intelligence Bureau furnished its threat assessment report with respect to Shri Rajiv Gandhi (Annexure S- 31, Ex 268) on January 3rd. 1990.

It is evident that the final threat perception report prepared by the IB HQs on the basis of the feedback received from its field units considerably diluted the threat perception in respect of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The Threat Perception assessment of the IB HQs does not appear to be in consonance with the inputs received from field units as far as the gravity and level of threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi is concerned.

The threat perception report of IB HQs dt. 3rd. January, 1990 begins by observing that :-

"Threat to the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi from Sikh extremists continues to be very high."

Tracing the origins of this threat to the aftermath of 'Operation Bluestar', this report enumerates the various threat perceptions to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi during the period he was the Prime Minister. Acknowledging that the threat from Sikh extremists would continue even after Shri Rajiv Gandhi had demitted charge as Prime Minister, the report states :-

"In Oct.'89 Gurmez Singh Gill of Babbar Khalsa, UK threatened that Shri Rajiv Gandhi would not be spared even if he was defeated in the General Elections. Recently, a talk has been reported among the Sikhs in UK that Sikh extremists have freshly targetted Shri Rajiv Gandhi..... It is,thus, evident that threat to the security of Rajiv Gandhi and his family members from Sikh extremists continues to be very high."

13.3.1 It is evident that the IB HQs failed to properly appreciate and take into account the vital inputs given by its field units of Jaipur, Bombay and Amritsar, which categorically stated that Shri Rajiv Gandhi continued to be on top of the hit list of Sikh extremists and that in view of the perception that physical security of Rajiv Gandhi had been scaled down, these elements were encouraged to attempt on his life. Nowhere in the threat perception report has this element been brought out.

This threat perception of the Intelligence Bureau appears to have made erroneous surmises which were against the reports of the field units available to them. The most noteworthy of these erroneous surmises is the IB HQs threat assessment pertaining to LTTE. Para 3 of the report states :-

"Threats from other Sources

3. As Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi also faced serious threats from various forces .... particularly .. LTTE and their supporters, The present attitude of these groups is not known. However, usually threats from such unspecified quarters tend to diminish and gradually taper off when the Prime Minister of the country demits office. But such threats may not altogether vanish in the immediate future.

This is absolutely contrary to the categorical threat assessment furnished by SIB Madras on 12.12.89 (Annexure S- 17) from LTTE and their supporters in which the SIB have given their perception that the threats to Rajiv Gandhi from these quarters had actually increased in the changed scenario. It is not known as to what was the considerations behind ignoring the threat assessment of SIB Madras which stated :-



3rd JANUARY, 1990 & 25th JANUARY, 1990 :-


14 The Intelligence Bureau was expected to take into account the threat perceptions to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and prepare a draft Security Scheme. A draft scheme was accordingly prepared and submitted by the IB to Ministry of Home Affairs seeking their approval on January 3rd. 1990. (Annexure S- 30, Ex. 269)

It was this scheme, prepared by the Intelligence Bureu, on 3rd. January, 1990, which was ultimately implemented for providing alternative security cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi with a few minor modifications.

14.1 A comparative qualitative and quantitative analysis of this scheme with the security provided by SPG to Shri Rajiv Gandhi hitherto has been done later in this chapter. At this stage, it will suffice to observe that this draft security scheme which lays down security arrangement for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, does not appear to have taken into consideration the threat perceptions received from the various IB field units.

This draft security scheme was discussed on 4th January, 1990, in a discussion held by Secretary (S) with officers of the Home Ministry, Intelligence Bureau, R&AW, Cabinet Secretariat and the PM Office. Minutes of the discussions (Annexure S- 32, Ex. 246), inter-alia, disclose that it was agreed that the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi should be entrusted to the Union Territory / State Governments concerned; the note be put before the Cabinet for approval of the decision.

It is interesting to see certain observations made in the context of this meeting by Shri Bhure Lal, Joint Secretary, who, agreeing with the proposal that SPG protection should not be extended to Shri Rajiv Gandhi suggested to provide him a nucleus force either by the Centre or Delhi Police for providing proximate security. (Annexure S- 34)

In another noting in this file, dated 16.01.90, Shri Bhure Lal (Annexure S- 33) has put forth the difficulties purportedly encountered by SPG in providing protection to Shri Rajiv Gnadhi. The note states :-

"A meeting was convened by Secretary(Security) today. He emphasised that the scanty resources of SPG are in great strain because of security arrangements of the former PM as well as the present PM. He also said that there was some resentment brewing up in the force which is not a desirable development."

Shri G.S. Bajpai, the then Secretary (Security) deposed before the Commission on this point. In his deposition dated 4th. June, 1997, he stated that he did not recollect having made such observations as recorded by Shri Bhure Lal in the above note.

14.2 Shri K.N. Thakur, Joint Director (IB), during his deposition before the Commission has stated that the draft security scheme prepared by him for Shri Rajiv Gandhi was discussed during this meeting and vetted. He stated :-

Deposition of Shri K.N.Thakur (25.4.96)

"My draft scheme was discussed in the meeting of Secretary(Security) which was attended by representatives of PMO, SPG, Delhi police, and I.B. There are the minutes of that meeting. At that meeting no specific amendment to my draft scheme was made....."

14.3 On 16th January, 1990, the Secretary, Security held a meeting with officers of the PMO, M/ Home, IB, R&AW, M/o Defence, Delhi Police and Cabinet Sectt. This meeting also discussed the security provided to the former Prime Minister, Shri Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure S- 35) The discussion regarding security to be provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi during his prospective tours of Amethi, MP, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu later in January, 1990 was that IB had already instructed the State Police authorities concerned to make adequate security arrangements. It was also decided that in case bullet proof car was not available in these places for him, there was no need to transport a bullet-proof car to the places of visit.

A visible dilution in the security provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi is quite evident from the above document.

14.4 This dilution in his security was formalised on 25th January, 1990, when the Cabinet Secretary approved an interim security arrangement for Shri Rajiv Gandhi proposed by Secretary (S) pending a final decision by the Cabinet. (Annexure S- 38)

This security arrangement was another step towards diluting even the interim security arrangement for Shri Rajiv Gandhi which, as per the instructions, was expected to remain at the same level as when he was the Prime Minister.

It was, inter alia, stated in the note of Secretary (S) that Shri Rajiv Gandhi had started travelling outside Delhi. In view of the likelihood of his increased frequency of outstation tours, it will not be possible for the SPG to undertake any duty outside Delhi during his tours. The note also stated that in the security meeting held on that day, "it was unanimously felt that while pending final decision SPG may continue to provide close protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and family in Delhi, the responsibility of his security outside Delhi should be left to the State Governments."

This note of Secretary (Security) dt. 23.1.90 was sent to Cabinet Secretary for approval, who, on 25.1.90, initialled the note.


15 On 23rd. January, 1990, Shri G.S. Bajpayee, Secretary, Security, prepared a note for the Cabinet regarding security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. (Annexure S- 36, Exh. No.31)

The note gives a clear indication of the minds of the bureaucrats and the security experts and their suggestions for which they were seeking approval of the Cabinet as per the instructions of the Prime Minister Shri V.P. Singh. The note also indicated that the PM had seen it. Briefly, the following points were highlighted in the note :-

i) Despite having demitted the office of the PM, Shri Rajiv Gandhi continues to face a very high degree of threat, especially in light of recent utterances of extremists that he would not be spared even if he was defeated in the elections.

Accordingly, the Prime Minister had instructed that his security should be fully ensured;

ii) Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi needed to be formalised immediately;

iii) The Special Protection Group Act 1988 specifically lays down that the SPG shall provide proximate security to the Prime Minister and the members of his immediate family. The responsibility for the protection of all other dignitaries including the former Prime Minister vests in the State Government /Union Territory Administrations.

iv) The matter was discussed in a security meeting taken by Secretary(Security) and attended by the representatives of MHA, PMO, IB, R&AW, Delhi Police, and SPG, and it was unanimously felt that the responsibility for providing protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi should be vested in the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations. Ministry of Home Affairs issues appropriate instructions, keeping in view the very high level of threat faced by him.

15.1 Having explained the above, the note sought the approval of the Cabinet on the following :


a) The responsibility for providing protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister and the members of his family should vest in the State Governments/ Union Territory Administrations.

b) Ministry of Home Affairs should issue appropriate instructions to the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in this regard, keeping in view the level of threat faced by Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

15.2 This note was dealt with in the office of the Prime Minister by the Additional Secretary, PMO, Shri K.R. Venugopal who prepared a final note on 30th January, 1990, on this subject for the Prime Minister,(Annexure S- 39, Ex. 274).

This note of the Addl. Secretary appears to have taken most considerations into account including the possibility of extending SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Relevant excerpts from the note are reproduced below :-


4 ject: Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister.

2. "The gist of decision suggested by Secretary ( Security) is that responsibility for providing protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, former PM should vest in the State Government /UT Administrations and MHA should issue appropriate instructions in this regard.

4. The Note for the Cabinet mentions that matter was also discussed in a Security meeting convened by Secretary ( Security) and attended by representatives of MHA, PMO, IB, RAW, Delhi Police and SPG. It was unanimously felt that the responsibility for providing protection to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi should be vested in the State Government /UT Administrations and the Ministry of Home Affairs should issue appropriate instructions keeping in view the very high level of threat faced by Shri Rajiv Gandhi.


i) The Special Protection Group ( SPG ) is statutorily responsible only for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister and members of his family. In view of the very high degree of threat faced by Shri. Rajiv Gandhi, despite his having demitted the office of the Prime Minister , the point also requires to be considered whether as a special case the responsibility of the SPG should also be extended to the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family or whether the responsibility for providing the protection should vest with only with the State Governments// UT Administrations.

ii) In case it is felt that the responsibility should be only with the State Governments and UT administrations, in view of the threat perception it for consideration whether the UT of Delhi should raise a special force for taking over the duties of the SPG with respect to the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family.

is suggested that among other points the points made in Para 5 may also be considered by the Cabinet. "

15.3 Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister, in his above note has made two valid points which were extremely relevant to be put up before the Cabinet for consideration.

The first point made by him was that considering the threat perception to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family, it was for consideration whether, as a special case, SPG protection be extended to him;

The second point was that in case the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was entrusted to the State Govt. / UTs concerned, considering his threat perception, UT of Delhi could raise a Special Force for his protection;

A similar suggestion, it may be recalled was made by Bhure Lal, Joint Secretary, PMO, on 16th January, 1990, (Annexure S- 34) when he spoke about the possibility of raising a "nucleus force" for the protection of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Unfortunately, it appears that this was not the note which was put up before the Cabinet for consideration. This note remained with the Prime Minister apparently as an aide-memoire for his consumption only. Shri K. R. Venugopal confirmed this during his deposition before the Commission on 14th May, 1996. He stated :-

"... I had prepared a brief on the note for the Cabinet dated 30.1.1990 (Exhibit 274) on the basis of the note dated 23.1.1990 (Exhibit 270)......... My note Exhibit 274 went straight to the Prime Minister and to the Principal secretary to the Prime Minister. At the time of the Cabinet, the Prime Minister would look into my brief.... and while consideration of that item would be taken up by the Cabinet, my brief would be looked into by the Prime Minister."

Shri B.G. Deshmukh, the then Principal Secretary, in his deposition before the Commission on 3rd. April, 1996, further corroborated this :-" The Cabinet is not supposed to be aware of the internal PMOs note. It was a brief for the Prime Minister."

15.4 Oral evidence of Shri B.G. Deshmukh brings out the sequence of discussions leading to the Cabinet meeting. Shri B.G. Deshmukh spoke about two meetings, which were held on the subject of security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi before the Cabinet meeting of 30th. January, 1990. He stated :-

Deposition dated 2nd. April, 1996 (p. 4)

"I attended one meeting when Shri V.C. Pande was the Cabinet Secretary and at that time Shri V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister. That might be in the first week of January, 1990."

"This was not a Cabinet meeting but it was a meeting with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary Shri V.C. Pande, myself and the Director, I.B. Home Secretary and Secretary, RAW should be present in that meeting..."

Shri V.C. Pande has elaborated the discussions in that meeting as follows :-

"Director SPG told me that SPG is being provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi as well as Shri V.P. Singh. If he has to continue then he should be provided with more men and the legal cover for ex-Prime Minister be extended. This message I passed on to Shri T.N. Seshan. Shri Pande brought a proposal to provide security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. In consultation with I.B. security can be provided by Delhi Police in Delhi and State Administration and I.B. outside Delhi. This proposal was discussed in that meeting."

Shri B.G. Deshmukh deposed further that this meeting was the second meeting prior to which Shri V.C. Pande had already held a meeting on this subject. He stated :-

"Shri Pande, prior to this meeting, held a meeting in the Cabinet Secretariat. Thereafter, the meeting was held in the PM's room. No other Cabinet Minister was there and the decision was that this matter should be brought before the Cabinet."

Shri B.G. Deshmukh confirmed, in his deposition dated 2nd. April, 1996, that :-

"It was mentioned in the Cabinet by Shri Pande. ...... Mr. Pande's proposal was okayed by the Cabinet. I do not think there was a Cabinet note on this subject circulated for the Cabinet Meeting. Shri Pande's proposal was discussed and the Cabinet took a decision."

15.5 What was the proposal which was put up before the Cabinet for discussion ? The contents of the proposal are reflected in the note of Cabinet Secretary Shri V.C. Pande, dated 30th January, 1990, submitted to the Prime Minister for his information. (Annexure S- 40, Ex. 248) Significantly, this note informs the Prime Minister that even before the approval of the Cabinet, security arrangements for Rajiv Gandhi on outstation tours had been left to the State Governments concerned.

Briefly, the note points out that SPG protection being provided to Rajiv Gandhi was purely temporary and ad hoc arrangement. According to the SPG Act, this force is meant for the security of the Prime Minister and his family members. Its charter can not be extended to cover ex-Prime Minister or any one else even by an executive order.

The note goes on to state that the scale of SPG deployment with Shri Gandhi continued to be as in the past. It was not possible to spare such a big manpower out of the existing strength of SPG on a continuous basis.

Cabinet Secretary also pointed out that "The security arrangements for the Prime Minister are suffering adversely due to this extra commitment on the part of the SPG."

On what information was this observation based is not clear. A perusal of the minutes of all security meetings held and all connected correspondence does not indicate anywhere that protection to the present Prime Minister was suffering due to SPG being extended to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

The Cabinet Secretary goes on to observe that "Such a large deployment of SPG also gives a high profile visibility and is attracting criticism from the State Governments."

For substantiating this contention no material - either oral or documentary - has been placed before the Commission.

15.6 From the sequence of events which emerges from the above discussion, it appears that at several stages, proposals were filtered and suggestions given by bureaucrats such as Shri K.R. Venugopal, Addl. Secretary, and Bhure Lal, Joint Secretary, PMO, for considering options for extra security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi were not given due consideration. Regarding the 30th. January, 1990, note, the matter will be considered subsequently in the light of the document Ex. 582 dt. 23.1.90 which was approved by the Cabinet Secretary Shri V.C. Pande on 25.1.90.



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