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Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter II

Sections 11 to 15

11. Cabinet decision in two Cabinet meetings dated 30.1.1990 and 1.2.1990 | 12. Alternative security arrangements made by Delhi Police after the Cabinet decision | 13. Sequence of events immediately succeeding the withdrawal of SPG from Shri Rajiv Gandhi | 14. Modifications in the Alternative Security System for Rajiv Gandhi in view of threat perceptions received during the period Feb. `90 to May, `90 | 15. Security of Rajiv Gandhi -Pre Election Phase

Cabinet Decisions in Two Cabinet Meetings Dated 30th January, 1990 and 1st February, 1990

16 In two Cabinet meetings - one held on 30th January, 1990 and the other on 1st. February, 1990 - decisions were taken for the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

16.1 What was actually discussed in the first cabinet meeting held on 30th January, 1990, remains in the realm of speculation. There do not exist detailed minutes of the meeting. The participants have shown their inability to recall at this stage precisely what transpired in the meeting. Disjointed and contradictory accounts of the meeting are available which do not help to bring out a clear picture.

16.2 The Cabinet meeting was attended by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and 15 other Cabinet Ministers. The minutes of the Cabinet meeting were drawn up on 30th. January, 1990 (Annexure S- 41, Ex. 32 & 275) by the Cabinet Secretary. The minutes merely state as follows :-

"Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the former Prime Minister

Cabinet considered the Note dated 23-1-90 from the Cabinet Secretariat (Mantrimandal Sachivalaya) and decided that further action in the matter may be taken in the light of the discussions."

16.3 The fact that it was the briefing of the Cabinet Secretary, Shri V.C. Pande at the Cabinet meeting which resulted in the above decision is spoken to by the then Principal Secretary, Shri B.G. Deshmukh, in his deposition before the Commission dt. 3rd. April, 1996. He stated :-

" In case of Rajiv's security, the matter was brought to the Cabinet.... under orders of the Prime Minister.... The gentleman who briefed the Cabinet was the Cabinet Secretary Shri V.C.Pande..."

What did Mr. V.C. Pande put up before the Cabinet ? Shri B.G. Deshmukh stated in his deposition as follows :-

Deposition of Shri B.G. Deshmukh dt. 2nd April, 1996 (Page No.4-6) :-

"In this particular case there was no Cabinet Note submitted in a formal way by that day..... Shri Pande might have read the note but no note was circulated. He had the proposal in writing. There was an alternative security arrangement in the proposal. That meant replacement of SPG....."

Shri V.C. Pande, when asked about the discussion held in the Cabinet meeting, deposed before the Commission as follows :-

Deposition of Shri V.C. Pande dt. 21.09.1995 :-

"....23.1.1990 Note is called 'Security Arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister'. Another Cabinet Note was finalised entitled "Security Arrangements for protected persons". At this point every person connected with security matters in the Govt. of India, and before 30.1.1990 had expressed the view that the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi should be handed over to State Govts and Union territories as provided in the Constitution. Another point, the consideration was always to provide security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi which was fully adequate. The debate about the amendment of the SPG Act to provide SPG security was settled in the Cabinet meeting on 30.1.1990 when the Cabinet did not favour the idea of amending the SPG Act."

The deposition of Shri V.C. Pande appears misleading. The note of Shri G.S. Bajpayee, Secretary (S) dt. 23rd. January, 1990 as well as the note of Shri V.C. Pande dt. 30th January, 1990 are totally silent regading the possibility of extension of SPG cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. How, then, could the Cabinet "not favour the idea of amending the SPG Act" as stated by Shri Pande in his deposition before the Commission ?

16.3.1 Shri G.S. Bajpai, the then Secretary (Security) had attended the Cabinet meeting of 30th January, 1990. He deposed before the Commission on 4th. June, 1997,and narrated the discussions held in the meeting. He stated :-

(Page 7) "Most of the Ministers who spoke in the meeting were opposed to the extension of S.P.G. to Shri Rajiv Gandhi....... In the Cabinet meeting, no Minister asked for any notes prepared by the bureaucrats or the threat assessment prepared by the I.B. during my presence....The question of replacement of SPG by alternative arrangement was generally discussed.. and most of the Ministers were of the view that alternative security scheme should be enforced for the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi as proposed in my note......As noted by ShriV.C. Pande, his note Exhibit 248, was discussed in the Cabinet...Shri K.R. Venugopal's note (Exhibit 274) was not discussed."

16.3.2 Shri V.P. Singh, who presided over the Cabinet Meeting held on 30th January, 1990, himself acknowledged during his deposition before the Commission that the Cabinet had discussed only the proposal of Secretary (S). In his deposition before the Commission on 11th October, 1996, he stated :-

" That Cabinet Note is Ex.270 signed by Shri G.S.Bajpai..... Para 5 of this note suggests the arrangement proposed regarding which approval was sought from the Cabinet. The proposal was in Para 5(a) that the responsibility for providing protection for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister and members of his family vests with the State Government/Union Territory Administration; (b) Ministry of Home Affairs should issue appropriate instructions to the State Governments and Union Territory Administration in this regard keeping in view the level of threat faced by Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

No note of discussion is prepared so it is not known what discussions took place. Although Shri V.P. Singh stated that note of Secretary (S) which was circulated was discussed and not Shri Pande's note.

16.3.3 Other witnesses examined by the Commission on this subject have been vague and do not contribute towards clarifying the already obfuscated issue.

Shri Naresh Chandra, the then Defence Secretary, in his deposition dt. 21st. June, 1996, before the Comission, has chosen to be extremely vague about the whole issue. He stated :-

"A meeting of the Cabinet took place on 30.1.1990 which was presided over by Shri V.P.Singh.... I was called in that meeting very late when.. The discussion was regarding the security of the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi....... Rajiv's security was discussed and decided... I do not recollect what was exactly spelt out in connection with Rajiv's security but it was generally agreed that adequate security has to be provided. I do not remember whether question of SPG cover was at all covered during the ten minutes I was there in the meeting."

The presence of this witness becomes doubtful as he said that he was waiting for his item in the agenda. As a matter of fact, there was only one item in the agenda in that Cabinet meeting which was on Rajiv Gandhi's security.(Annexure S- 87)

16.4 Shri Arif Mohammed Khan, former Cabinet Minister for Energy in the Cabinet of Shri V.P. Singh, was a participant in the Cabinet meeting as per the record.During his deposition he has flatly denied that any discussion whatsoever took place regarding Rajiv Gandhi's security. Relevant excerpts of his deposition are reproduced below :-

Deposition CW-10 of SH. Arif Mohammed Khan dt. 28.11.1995

"The Cabinet functions through its committees. For the purpose of security, there is a Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs and I was not a Member of the CCPA. I am not aware of any discussion having taken place on Rajiv ji's security and in any Cabinet meeting I did not recall of any discussion having taken place on Sri Rajiv Gandhi's security..."

16.5 However, Shri V.P. Singh has categorically refuted this and attributed this statement of Shri Arif Mohammed Khan as a lapse of his memory. In his deposition dt. 24.10.96, Shri V.P. Singh stated :-

"On this, I have to state with all regard to Shri Arif Mohammad Khan that his memory has failed...."

On the suggestion that in fact there was no discussion in the Cabinet and it was a pre- determined decision by Shri V.P. Singh and Mr.Pande which was got formally signed by his Cabinet colleagues, Shri V.P. Singh replied that "This is a preposterous proposition which I totally deny."

16.6 One point which becomes clear in this entire controversy is that the issue of amending SPG Act for extending it to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was relegated to a routine exercise doomed to be rejected due to the cavalier approach of the bureaucrats, security experts and the political executive involved.

17 The second Cabinet meeting in which, inter alia, the issue of providing security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi came up was held on February 1, 1990.

17.1 The agenda of the meeting discloses that the subject of Security arrangements for protected persons was discussed by the Cabinet vide agenda item Case no. 10/4/90. Relevant extracts are reproduced below (Annexure S- 42, Ex. 272) :-

" Case No 10/4/90."

"Security arrangements for protected persons:

The Cabinet considered the note from the Cabinet Secretariat circulated at the meeting regarding "Security arrangements for protected persons" and decided that the security must be linked with the threat perception to an individual and not to his status. It was noted that there are some dignitaries who were Ministers in last Government and who face severe threats from extremists. Special mention was made regarding the ex-Prime Minister who is under the extreme threat to his own life as well as of his family. It was decided that adequate security arrangements should be made in such cases and appropriate security cover should be provided, though they ceased to be Ministers. The Intelligence Bureau, Ministry of Home Affairs and Secretary (Security) should satisfy themselves regarding the adequacy of the Security cover. "

17.2 This decision was taken on the basis of a detailed note for the Cabinet prepared by Shri A.K. Deb, Joint Secretary (Security) and sent to the Cabinet Secretariat on 23rd. January, 1990. This was the note which was circulated to the Cabinet (Annexure S- 37, Ex. 271) on 1st February, 1990.

The note enumerated three categories of security provided for protected persons as per Government instructions. These categories were 'X', 'Y' & 'Z'. The scale of security etc. for each category was specified in the note. The note also mentioned that the Home Ministry had decided that some persons needed to be given a still higher 'Z' security on account of the active threat faced by them from terrorists.

17.3 With regard to the security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the note stated as follows :-

"Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi

6. As a purely adhoc arrangement, SPG and CRPF personnel who were on duty in Race Course Road Complex (about 500) continue to provide security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Shri Rajiv Gandhi is now scheduled to shift from Race Course Road residence to 10 Janpath between Feb. 2-4, 1990. It is proposed to withdraw SPG/CRPF contingents from his security and provide the following security contingent of the Delhi Police from the date he shifts to 10 Janpath residence.

16 Constables. (in 4 shifts of 1 HC plus 4 Constables each)

16 Constables. (in 4 shifts of 1 HC plus 4 Constables each)

(a) 6 PSOs (2 in each shift) (c) Ring round - 6(2 in each shift) (iv) Road journeys:

4 PX stables (one plus two in 2 shifts) Escort car - 2 SIs plus 4 Constables 1 plus 2 in two shifts)

(v) Air journey:

No separate PSO will be provided for air journey. However, one armed PSO may accompany Shri Rajiv Gandhi when he travels by air.

(vii) Family members: PSOs - 18 (6 for each family members, 2 in each shift)

3 HCs plus 6 Constables (1 plus 2 for each family member.)

& (x) Drivers: 18 (9 in two shifts) Total deployment: 124 persons plus 9 cars.

P PX 4 present a static medical unit, a personal physician and one ambulance car is deployed with Shri Rajiv Gandhi at Race Course Road. It is proposed to withdraw these arrangements after he shifts to 10 Janpath Road.

II. It is proposed that SPG should provide undivided attention and security to Prime Minister and family members only as provided in the Act. For other protected persons, where necessary, the security arrangements made by the Delhi Police may be strengthened by providing NSG or ITBP Commandos."

17.4 In the above proposal itself, a tangible dilution of security arrangements in respect of Shri Rajiv Gandhi is noticed. Let us now see what was the actual impact of the above decisions of the Cabinet resolved in two Cabinet meetings on the security arangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Alternative Security Arrangements Made by Delhi Police After the Cabinet Decision


The draft Security scheme, which was prepared by the Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau Shri K.N. Thakur on 3rd. January, 1990, was the scheme which was by and large accepted and implemented with a few minor changes. The orders of the Central Government laying down the scale of security were issued on 2rd. February, 1990 vide letter no. VI - 23014/57/89- GPA-III dt. 2.2.90 ( EX. 377). A detailed Circular of the Delhi Police (Annexure S- 58, Ex. CG 205) was issued on 22nd. February, 1990, on the basis of the instructions of the Central Government outlining the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This circular lays down the details and scale of security deployment for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The Delhi Police has confirmed that the actual security deployment for Shri Rajiv Gandhi by them was as per this circular.

18.2 A comparison between the security cover provided by the SPG to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and family hitherto and this alternative security arrangement provided by the Delhi Police most eloquently depicts the glaring dilution in his security after he ceased to be Prime Minister.

The security cover provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi during the interim period by the SPG can be summarised as follows :-


18.3 The total strength deployed for the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members at various locations by the SPG during the interim arrangement has been furnished in details in the following statement :-

(Letter No. 10/27/94-TS dt. 11 Oct. 1996 of Pradeep Sen, Director (Security), Cabinet Sectt. to JCI)

18.4 The above figures speak for themselves. A mere cursory glance at these figures reveals that the security arrangements provided by the SPG to Rajiv Gandhi as interim arrangement comprised a team of 494 personnel of various ranks headed by one Dy. Director (DIG) and 5 Asstt. Directors (SP). On the other hand, the alternative security arrangements made for Rajiv Gandhi as per the instructions of the Govt. of India comprised a total strength of 136 police personnel under the overall charge of one Asstt. Commissioner of Police (DySP). It is evident that there has been a drastic reduction in the scale of security provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after the replacement of SPG protection.

18.5 This was admitted by the then Joint Director IB, looking after VIP security, Shri K.N. Thakur, during his deposition before the Commission. He stated :-

Deposition of Shri K.N. Thakur

"Both NSG and SPG personnel were provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi for his security under the Delhi Police. The rank of NSG and SPG personnel was not the same which he was having as Prime Minister. Same number of people was not provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

18.6 As will be seen later in this Chapter, no worthwhile amendment / enhancement in this security scheme was made till the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Sequence of Events Immediately Succeeding the Withdrawal of SPG From Sh. Rajiv Gandhi

19 The Cabinet decision of 30th January, 1990 has its own political repercussions.

The issue of inadequate security cover was taken up immediately by the members of the Congress (I). The media reports of that period indicate that a hot debate erupted over the issue of provision of inadequate security to Rajiv Gandhi. A summary of the media reports on this issue is seen in the Special Digest of Press Information Bureau dt. 13th February, 1990, (Annexure S- 53).

19.1 The media reports, while divided on this issue, were categorical on the view that effective and adequate security should be given to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. One section of the press felt that the decision to withdraw SPG was the right course assuming that the alternative arrangements were "commensurate with the threat perception",( DECCAN HERALD (Bangalore 12/2). Some newspaper reports subscribed to the view that reduction in the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was inevitable since he was no longer the Prime Minister and this fact should be accepted by his partymen. The demand for security was also perceived as "politically motivated".(DAINIK TRIBUNE (Hindi, Chandigarh 9/2) JANSATTA (Hindi 10/2), (THE TRIBUNE (9/2)). However, it is seen that the even to the majority of the media, which put forward the layman's view, it was clear that Rajiv Gandhi was an extremely threatened individual and his life should not be risked by conducting experiments with his security. Some such media perceptions are excerpted below :-

"If at all the government has to err, it should err on the side of caution" : THE HINDUSTAN TIMES (9/2).

According to the NATIONAL HERALD (6/2), the government's decision speaks of both "cussedness and callousness".

ITA BAZAR PATRIKA(12/2) observed that in Mr.Gandhi's case it should be remembered that "two attempts on his life were made" during his commissions and omissions during his Prime Ministership but because he is "his mother's son".

NATIONAL HERALD(6/2) added that the imperative of individual protection cannot be linked with the office one holds. Any security arrangement worth its name must measure up to the risks involved.

AMRITA BAZAR PATRIKA (Calcutta 12/2) editorial observed that "Mr.Gandhi and his family still remained the most endangered species in the country and if the government allows an impression to go round that it is bent on relaxing the security arrangement for them, that may fuel the fanaticism of extremists and encourage them to action which they would have otherwise avoided".


19.2 Media reports of the period indicate widespread concern among Congress(I) leadership with regard to a perceived reduction in the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. A news item published in Times of India, dt. 6th Feb. 1990 (Annexure S- 49) indicates that, on behalf of the Congress (I), Pandit Kamalapati Tripathi wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Shri V.P. Singh demanding restoration of SPG to Rajiv Gandhi in view of extremely high threats to him; he is further quoted as having stated that security should be based on actual threat perception and not protocol.

19.2.1 In other media reports of the period (Annexure S-s 51 i,ii,iii&iv), there are indications of public remonstrations by spokesman of Congress (I) against diluted security arrangements for Rajiv Gandhi. Decision of the Cabinet for withdrawal of SPG was termed as "utterly irresponsible" by M.J. Akbar, who, in the new item (Annexure S- 51 i) is reported to have stated that "this is not only ridiculous but criminal callousness towards Mr. Gandhi who continues to be the prime target of some of the most murderous psychopaths in the country." He also stated that "Just because Mr. Rajiv Gandhi is not the Prime Minister, it does not mean he has become less of a target. On the contrary, he is more of a target now and more vulnerable."

In another news item, reacting to the reported press statement of Shri V.P. Singh that Rs. 1 crores were to be spent on Rajiv Gandhi's security, the Congress spokesman is quoted to have stated that "For the first time, a leader's life is being measured in rterms of money." (Annexure S- 51 iv)

19.2.2 Around the same time, Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC) made a representation on 10th February, 1990, to the President of India (Annexure S- 52 A) pointing out that SPG protection to Rajiv Gandhi was provided not only because he was the Prime Minister but " due to a particular situation which had arisen out of his determined and unflinching stand and policy which he adhered to..... even in face of gravest threat to his life.. from the terrorist and extremists..." The representation appealed to the President to ensure proper and foolproof security to Rajiv Gandhi.

SEQUENCE OF EVENTS - 1st. - 28th FEB. 1990

19.3 Let us advert to the sequence of events soon after the Delhi Police took over the responsibility of providing security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The Intelligence Bureau and the Delhi Police remained in continuous liaison with Sri P.Chidambaram in order to obtain the views of the Congress (I) regarding the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Unfortunately, Shri P. Chidambaram, who had held the charge of the portfolio of Internal Security as Minister of State in the Cabinet of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, did not suggest anything concrete except a few cosmetic changes which made insignificant contribution as far as the security and threat are concerned. He apparently lost interest in this cause soon after and, as per his own admission, did nothing regarding the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi after the third week of February 1990 till the assassination of Shri Gandhi.

As per the record available before the Commission, following efforts appear to have been taken after the SPG protection was withdrawn from Shri Rajiv Gandhi :-

a) Immediately after the decision was taken, Shri V.N. Singh, Additional Commissioner of Police wrote a Letter (Annexure S- 43 CGW 206) to the Joint Director, IB regarding security setup for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, inter alia, stating that "As desired, by Shri P. Chidambaram, it was discussed with him today (3.2.90) at 4.30 P.M. Subsequently, Shri P.Chidambaram visited 10, Janpath where Shri. Rajiv Gandhi is shifting and on the ground the protective arrangements were discussed and reviewed."

The letter goes on to enumerate the suggestions given by Shri P. Chidambaram to gear up the security, which comprised :-

i) According to Shri Chidambaram, guard strength be increased from proposed 1-4-16 to 1- 6-24.

ii) Shri. Chidambaram said that personnel of the SPG reverting to IB and Delhi Police be drafted on security duty with Shri Rajiv Gandhi;

iii) Policemen manning the gates should be armed with a sten-gun.

Shri Chidambaram was of the view that a small group of SPG officers may continue to perform duty with Sh Rajiv Gandhi till 9th February, 1990 in addition to Delhi Police Security. And only on 9th February, they should withdraw leaving the security of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi exclusively to the care of Delhi Police.

The SPG agreed to continue providing protection to Shri Gandhi as requested till 9th February, 1990. TN Mishra, Director, SPG, on Febrary, 5, 1990, sent a UO note to Secretary, Security, (Annexure S- 45) to this effect.

b) On February 3, 1990, Shri P. Chidambaram, Member of Parliament, wrote a letter to Shri Gauri Shankar Bajpai, Secretary (Security), (Annexure S- 44) inter alia, pointing out that several matters of alternative security needed to be sorted out . He specified that "I am not satisfied with the alternative arrangements proposed to meet the requirements of Security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family. My discussions with Shri VN Singh are, therefore, inconclusive."

Shri GS Bajpai,Secretary ( Security) gave a reply to Shri P.Chidambaram, on 6.2.90 stating that the additional security measures conveyed by Shri Chidambaram had been agreed to. The measures had been ordered to be implemented by Secretary (S) as seen in minutes of a meeting held by him on the same day (Annexure S- 47). It was also mentioned that Shri V.N. Singh reported that Shri Chidambaram was satisfied with the arrangements made.

c ) Prime Minister Shri V.P. Singh responded to the request of Pandit Kamalapati Tripathi on February 8, 1990 (Annexure S- 50, EX. 279) stating that all precautions had been taken in this regard. Shri V.P. Singh, in his letter, stated that :-

"The Security contingent provided to him is much higher than that provided to any other dignitary out of office so far, as would be evident from the fact that the expenditure on his security would work out to approximately Rs.75 lakhs per year. It has been decided to deploy 125 personnel, including 21 NSG commandoes, at Shri Rajiv Gandhi's residence. Additionally, about 25 persons would be needed to cover his public and private functions/engagements in Delhi. Thus the effective deployment will be about 150....

The considerations which went into the concept of 'ADEQUATE' security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi are evident from the tenor of this letter. It appears that to prove that security provided was adequate, refuge had been taken under the pretext that

(i) it entailed a heavy expenditure of Rs. 75 Lakhs,

(ii) As many as 150 personnel were provided for the security of Shri Gandhi and

(iii) security cover provided to Shri Gandhi was higher than what had been provided to any dignitary out of office so far.

d) On February 9, 1990, Shri P. Chidambaram wrote a letter to Secretary (Security) Shri G. S Bajpayee (Annexure S- 52, Ex. 521) reiterating that the existing arrangements were not satisfactory and that there was a need for further review. He suggested :-

"... there are a number of questions touching upon the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family. These include questions on personnel, arms, level of responsibility and control, cover for the Children when attending college etc. I am willing to continue discussions with the Government but pending such discussions, it is my earnest desire- and advice- that the present security arrangements provided by the SPG should be continued and no change should be brought about unilaterally.

I have been asked by Shri Rajiv Gandhi to liaise with the Government on this subject. You may, if you wish, ask one of your senior officers to meet me to continue the discussions. I am available in Delhi until 15.02.1990."

He also stated that he did not express satisfaction with the arrangements to Shri V.N. Singh, Additional Commissioner of Police, as mentioned by Shri Bajpai in his letter dated 6.2.1990.

Apparently, in response to this, a meeting was held regarding the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi at the house of Shri P. Chidambaram on 15th February, 1990. A note was prepared by the IB recording the discussions held. (Annexure S- 55). Relevant extracts of the minutes are reproduced below :-

2. "Shri. Chidambaram said that all he wanted was that we should go about providing security for Shri.Rajiv Gandhi in a rational way. He was not worried as to which agency should provide the security. The arrangement should be commensurate with the nature of and the type of threat perceived by us. "

5. "Shri Chidambaram asked Dr.Paul to arrange for the following:

i) Random checks for explosives by expert teams.

ii) Identification of ring round teams for Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members and their introduction to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi and the family members.

iii) Shri. Chidambaram ...requested Dr.Paul to arrange for relief for the PSOs whenever Shri Rajiv Gandhi went on long tours..."

As per his own admission, Shri Chidambaram did not follow up the matter after this. In his deposition before the Commission, he stated :-

Deposition of P. Chidambaram dt. 21.11.1996

"To my knowledge there was no further correspondence regarding Rajiv security after 9th February 1990.

....After 20th February 1990 or thereabouts, whatever security was provided and there was no occasion to liaise with the Government, till the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. I did not write any letter to the Government, ....... regarding Rajiv's security........"

e) On February, 13, 1990, Secretary, Security, held further discussions on this subject with officers of the Intelligence Bureau, SPG, R&AW, Delhi Police and others with a view to implement the Security Arrangement for Shri Rajiv Gandhi laid down by the M/of Home Affairs. (Annexure S- 54)

f) The question of security continued to exercise the minds of Congressmen. Shri R.N. Mittal, Advocate and Convenor, Legal Cell, All India Congress Committee(I), wrote a letter (Annexure S- 56, EX. No. 281) to the Prime Minister of India in this regard. The letter, signed by many advocates of the Supreme Court and other courts, inter alia, pointed out that threat to life of Shri Gandhi had further increased and demanded proper protection to Rajiv Gandhi by bringing about an amendment of SPG Act. A response to this came on February 21st. 1990, from Principal Secretary to PM, Shri B. G. Deshmukh, (Annexure S- 57, Ex. 280) reiterating the stand of the Government and assuring that

" the Government has taken all precautions and made all necessary arrangements regarding the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The security contingent provided to him is much higher than that provided to any other dignitary out of office so far....

g) The last of the meetings in this series with regard to the security arrangements for Rajiv gandhi as communicated by the M/ o Home in pursuance to the Cabinet decision was held at the residence of Shri Rajiv Gandhi and attended by him on February 28, 1990, This meeting was held by Delhi Police with Shri Rajiv Gandhi and Shri P. Chidambaram. (Annexure S- 60, EX. NO. 247). The minutes of the meeting indicate the keen interest evinced by Shri Rajiv gandhi in the security arrangements and the suggestions given by him as is evident from the following excerpts :-

3. "To preclude the possibility of an armed vehicle barging through the front door Shri Gandhi suggested that a zigzag entry through the front gate could solve the problem....."

6. "Shri Gandhi was asked if there are any SPG personnel who he would like to include in the security staff at 10, Janpath. Shri Gandhi stated that the choice be made by Delhi Police out of those personnel posted in SPG."

7. Shri Gandhi enquired about the training, motivation and firing prowess of the security personnel. The security officers stated that ......the firing practice being imparted was very meagre."

8. Shri Gandhi was requested to allow the NSG personnel to take position on the northern side of the house facing 12, Janpath. Shri Gandhi agreed..."

9. Security officers suggested that there is necessity of placing a LMG with Morcha on the terrace of 10, Janpath. Shri Gandhi stated that the Morcha may be constructed...."

11. Shri Gandhi suggested that the security personnel must familiarise themselves with Parliament House. especially the places of route taken by Shri Gandhi within Parliament House. He also mentioned that arrangements at Farm House needed strengthening...".lm 12

Points raised in this meeting also find a place in the note prepared by the IB on 1st. March, 1990 (Annexure S- 61) which, inter alia, recorded that :-

"Shri Rajiv Gandhi also emphasised the need for proper training of the personnel in his security detail. He felt that they needed training in handling of wireless equipment and regular firing practice to be able to react to situations effectively.

On the whole, Shri Rajiv Gandhi's attitude was cooperative ..... "

19.3.1 The only meeting which was held by security agencies with Rajiv gandhi indicates that he was concerned and interested in his security. He not only readily acceded to the suggestions made to him by the security agencies regarding tightening of his security but, on his own, offered suggestions. Nowhere is it indicated that Rajiv Gandhi showed his aversion to ostentatious security as has been often alleged.

19.4 One question which requires to be dealt with at this stage is whether any of the SPG personnel who were repatriated from the SPG made available for the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi ?

Nothing concrete appears to have been done. Shri Rajiv Gandhi, when he attended the meeting held on 28th February, 1990, made it clear that he was leaving the task of selection of SPG personnel to be transferred from SPG to Delhi Police for his security to the Delhi Police. Oral evidence given before the Commission by the concerned suggests that this priority was not seriously taken up; all the witnesses have given a vague reply to the exact number of SPG personnel who were transferred to Delhi Police specifically to look after the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The SPG records only speak about SPG personnel who were repatriated, while Delhi Police records speak about a handful of SPG officers who rejoined Delhi Police after having been repatriated from the SPG; however, no records are available to indicate whether any of the ex-SPG personnel were actually specially deployed to protect Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Shri V.P. Singh sought to project this requirement merely as a "psychological need" of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. In his deposition dt. 11th. October, 1996, he stated :-

"Rajiv Gandhi did not himself initiate any proposal to depute SPG personnel so as to be available to him. It was Congress people who were demanding.... for psychological satisfaction of Rajiv Gandhi, if he had confidence in any SPG official personally, we can transfer such person to the Home Ministry or Delhi Police; then legally we can give that person of his confidence to Rajiv Gandhi. .... it was for psychological purpose."

20 Oral evidence available to the Commission in the form of depositions of various witnesses further reinforces the points made above. Several witnesses, notably political leaders like S/sh. V.P. Singh, P. Chidambaram and Mani Shankar Aiyer, and several bureaucrats including B. G. Deshmukh, R. Vasudevan, S.K. Mishra, Naresh Chandra narrated the events which took place during this transitional phase.

Shri V.P. Singh describes the events which centred around the cabinet decision to replace SPG protection of Rajiv Gandhi with a system of alternative security thus :-

( Deposition of V.P. Singh Dt. 8TH NOVEMBER 1996 )

"....there were protests from the Congress regarding non-availability of SPG cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. However, after the matter was taken at the President's level Shri R.Venkataraman and as he has stated in his autobiography that the whole matter was settled between myself and Rajiv Gandhi. I do not remember any protests after this meeting ....regarding SPG cover from Congressmen... . Virtually the protests petered away and died down. It gave the impression that they were totally satisfied with it."

20.1 This 'petering away' of the protests is evident from the deposition of Shri P. Chidambaram, who admitted that after a certain point, nothing further was done by him to ensure better security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. On being asked on this point, Shri Chidambaram deposed :-

Deposition dt. 21.11.1996 (Page No.3)

"I wrote the letter dated 9th February 1990 after the Governments's decision. There was no response. Thereafter Rajiv Gandhi did not take up the matter with the Government. I did not agitate the matter. I did not write any letter to Chandra Shekhar Government in connection with Rajiv's security, till assassination......."

Bureaucrats concerned with the matters of security during the relevant period, when examined, have hinted at complacency on the part of P. Chidambaram regarding demand of better security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. The following excerpts of depositions of relevant bureaucrats confirm this :-

Deposition of Shri B.G. Deshmukh BLW-W-10 dt. 2nd. April. 1996 (Page No.8)

"I had interacted with Mr.P.Chidambaram on two counts, one whatever SPG people he wanted and whatever security measures to be taken in that house, we asked CPWD to do that immediately."

Deposition dt. 3rd. April, 1996

"... I met only once in the first fortnight of February 1990 Shri Chidambaram on the subject of security at 10, Janpath. After that one meeting there was no feed back from Mr. Chidambaram. So I got the impression that he was satisfied with the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi...."

This impression conveyed by Shri B.G. Deshmukh to the Commission is belied by the deposition of Shri P. Chidambaram before the Commission during which he has asserted that he was not satisfied with the alternative security arrangements made for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. In his deposition before the Commission on 21st. November, 1996, he stated :-

(page 1)

"The Govt. of V.P. Singh did not provide effective alternative security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi ..... Whatever view V.P. Singh has expressed to the Commission that an alternative effective security was provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, I do not agree and my letter of 9th. February 1990 speaks for itself."

Deposition dated 7th. December, 1996 (page 7)

"I was not satisfied with the alternative security provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

Deposition of Shri Naresh Chandra VPS/W-12 dt. 21st June, 1996 (Page No.4)

"Shri P.Chidambaram was interacting with the Government in connection with Shri Rajiv's security. I never interacted with Shri P.Chidambaram on this point that is the question of Shri Rajiv's security."

21 Sequence of events upto the end of February, 1990, indicates that after the Cabinet decision was taken to replace SPG protection of Rajiv Gandhi with an alternative security scheme which was prepared by the Intelligence Bureau and implemented by Delhi Police, despite protests publicly made by a section of Congressmen, nothing concrete was done by the Government and its agencies to change their perception. Perhaps, this complacency on the part of the Government of that time was encouraged by the fact that except for the initial phase of one month when alternative security arrangements were actually being tested out, no efforts were made by the representative of the Congress (I) who had been specifically assigned the task of liaising with the Government on the security of Rajiv Gandhi. This may be due to the chapter having being closed by the Government as would appear from the reply of Shri V.P. Singh to Shri Kamalapati Tripathi.

22 Before analysing the various questions which arise at this stage and which have been agitated by various parties before the Commission, it will be useful to have a broad view of the evolution of the security system for Rajiv Gandhi during February, 1990 till his assassination.

Modifications in the Alternative Security System for Rajiv Gandhi in View of Threat Perceptions Received During the Period February 1990 to May 1991

23 Records placed before the Commission indicate that on several occasions when a review of the threat perception to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was conducted by the agencies concerned, fresh inputs were received indicating a gradually increasing threat to his life. Question arises whether these threats were adequately met by way of bringing about corresponding suitable modifications in thte security arrangements devised for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. A comprehensive picture of the threat perceptions to Shri Rajiv Gandhi is available in a separate Chapter. Here, only selected threat perceptions have been taken which are merely illustrative examples.

23.1 Threat to the life of Rajiv Gandhi increased after he demitted charge as Prime Minister. This is evident from a threat perception of IB prepared as early as on 6th February, 1990. (Annexure S- 43) This report emphasises that the militants and hostile forces may make fresh attempts on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi in view of their perception that under changed circumstances security provided to him had become less impregnable. Relevant extracts of the threat perception are reproduced below :-

"The shifting of Rajiv Gandhi to the new residence at 10, Janpath and the wide publicity to the withdrawal of the SPG personnel from his security given in the media is likely to make him more vulnerable to the Sikh extremist threat. Perceiving that the scale of security now round the former Prime Minister may be less impregnable, the terrorist outfits would now definitely feel encouraged to plan an action against him or his family members...."

5. Under the circumstances mentioned above, threat to the security of the Ex-Prime Minister and his family members is very real and strong security measures would require to be taken to meet this threat....."

23.2 This perception gets corroboration from a field report of SIB Madras dt. April 6, 1990. (Annexure S- 64, Ex. CGW 34). Relevant extracts from this threat assessment are reproduced below :-

"There is some information that some militant elements of the LTTE might resort to do physical harm to the former Prime Minister of India, Shri Rajiv Gandhi and these elements seem emboldened in their hostile attitude towards the former Prime Minister, especially after the defeat of the Congress-I Government at the Centre......"

23.3 Despite these concrete and alarming inputs, a flawed logic that threat perception to Shri Rajiv Gandhi had decreased merely because of the fact that he had ceased to be the Prime Minister has now been put forward to justify the decision of not providing SPG protection to him by amendment of SPG Act.

23.3.1 From the evidence, it appears that this concept has been borrowed in isolation from the Report of Justice Thakkar Commission without taking into account the changed realities of the time. The observations of Justice Thakkar were in the background or the context of assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi and cannot be pressed into service in the situation in which Shri Rajiv Gandhi was placed.

23.3.2 A theoretical premise cannot take precedence over actual ground realities. Existence of a persisting extremely high level of threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members even after his demitting charge as the Prime Minister has been a common running thread in all threat perceptions prepared by the Agencies during the period. This fact alone should have led to the modification of the incorrect theory.

23.4 Reproduced below are excerpts from the depositions of witnesses who have put forward this point of view :-

Deposition of Sri.K.N.Thakur formerly Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau., dt. 25.04.96.

"I had stated in the meeting that the threat to the Prime Minister consists of two parts. One part relates to the office of the Prime Minister and the second part relates to the person who occupies that position. In case of the ex- Prime Minister, the first part was no longer present. To that extent the threat perception of the ex- Prime Minister is diminished...."

Deposition of Shri V. G. Vaidya dt. 17.12.96

"I agree with the statement of Joint Director, IB expressed during the meeting held in the Cabinet Secretariat on 4.12.89 afternoon wherein he had observed that threat perception in respect of the ex-PM had since changed since he was no longer the Head of the Government.... threats faced by Shri Rajiv Gandhi after demitting office of Prime Minister correspondingly reduced in relation to those which emanated by virtue of his having been the Prime Minister."

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 1.11.96 (Page-No.5)

".... K.N. Thakur and Mr. Vaidya and Mr. Deshmukh, who have had long experience in security matters and in Government, have categorically deposed that the level of threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was reduced after demitting office....."

23.5 Evidence before the Commission does not indicate any concrete response which could be construed as action taken on these two very specific threats. No review of whether the existing security arrangements had the capability to cope with this fresh element of threat appears to have been done except issuing instructions and conveying threat perceptions.

23.6 During the period of nine months from May 1990 to February, 1991, it is seen that several letters were written to Shri Rajiv Gandhi by the Union Home Minister and the Minister of State (Home) and the Prime Minister Chandrashekhar advising him to adhere to the security precautions laid down. The then Union Home Minister, Shri Mufti Mohammed Syed wrote two letters to Shri Rajiv Gandhi in this context - one on 25 May, 1990 and another on 5th. September, 1990. (Annexure S-s 65 & 67, Ex. 379 (6) & (7)). The letters express concern that Rajiv Gandhi, on some occasions, had been found using private vehicles; the Minister also suggested that on all occasions, security staff should be allowed to accompany Rajiv Gandhi. On 11th. December, 1990, MOS (Home) Subodh Kant Sahai wrote another letter emphasising the need to adhere to security norms and pointed out that Shri Rajiv Gandhi had been violating security norms in some instances. (Annexure S- 69 Ex. 379(2).

23.6.1 On January 4, 1991, the then Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar wrote to Shri Rajiv Gandhi reiterating that in view of threats, Sh Gandhi should invariably use Bullet proof cars while travelling. (Annexure S- 71, Ex. 379(1)) He pointed out instances where bullet proof cars were not used.

23.6.2 On February 9, '91, the PM wrote another letter to Shri Rajiv Gandhi regarding his security. The letter (Annexure S- 73,Ex. 589) stated that he had issued instructions that Rajiv Gandhi retained his residence at 10, Janpath, where some additional security construction was contemplated. Chandrashekhar also advised that on out station tours, Rajiv Gandhi should stay in Government Circuit House.

23.7 The reply of Shri Rajiv Gandhi to this letter (Annexure S- 74, Ex. 590), excerpts of which are reproduced below sums up the effect of security concerns exhibited by the Government :-

"...I find that a lot of superfluous work is done that looks satisfactory on paper but adds little to security and causes a lot of public inconvenience.

As regards my stay in circuit houses while on tour, that is the arrangement I prefer and usually adopt....."

23.8 The protracted correspondence with Shri Rajiv Gandhi by the then Prime Minister and Home Ministers was actually no substitute for provision of better security to the highly threatened dignitary as Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer has succintly pointed during his deposition before the Commission :-

Deposition CW 29 dt. 6.12.1996

"... reference is made to the 3 letters on security addressed to Shri Rajiv Gandhi by S/s Chandra Shekhar, Subodh Kant Sahai and Mufti Mohd. Sayeed. Briefly, all these letters referred to trifling details of security and did not address themselves to the fundamental requirement of providing a full-fledged system of security, such as he had been provided when he was Prime Minister."

He has also explained the markings made by Shri Rajiv Gandhi on the margins of the letter dated 4.1.91 the reply of which was drafted by him but could not go.

Security of Rajiv Gandhi: Pre-Election Phase

24 Announcement of general elections in the beginning of 1991 and the commencement of election campaigns all over the country soon after were a cause for the intelligence agencies to give a fresh look to the security requirements of the national political leaders who had begun hectic touring. This phase has to be dealt with separately.

24.1 However, before the electioneering began, there were several occasions where, it is seen, the threat perceptions called for concrete action in terms of strengthening the security of Rajiv Gandhi; however, it is noticed that, besides issuing circulars to the States and Union Territories reiterating earlier security measures, the Intelligence Bureau did little towards strengthening the existing security for Rajiv Gandhi. An example of this is the instructions reiterated on July 20, 1990, by the Intelligence Bureau to all the States in its circular memorandum (Annexure S- 66). In this circular, the states were exhorted to scrupulously follow the existing instructions in view of the increasing tours of Rajiv Gandhi.

24.2 Let us now compare the threat perception to the life of Rajiv Gandhi one year after he demitted charge as the Prime Minister. It may be recalled that the IB had, on 3rd. January, 1990, prepared a comprehensive threat perception for the security of Rajiv Gandhi. It has been put forth that the security scheme devised for Rajiv Gandhi soon after was based on this threat perception. A recapitulation of the salient features of that threat perception is indicated from the following excerpts of the report (Annexure S- 30, Ex 268) :-

Assessment of threat to the security of former Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi

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

2. 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......."

Threats from other Sources

3. As Prime Minister, Shri. Rajiv Gandhi also faced serious threats from various forces and elements hostile to the interests of the country. Enemy agents, secessionist and fissiparious elements, rabid communalists. Left extremists particularly the People's war Group of Andhra Pradesh, LTTE and their supporters, etc. comprised some of these sources. 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. Hence, precautions against such threats would also be necessary for the time being.

4. Shri Rajiv Gandhi continues to be in active politics, and is the leader of Opposition and the President of the Congress (I). He is therefore bound to be the focus of hostile attention of elements inimical to him and thus need a vigilant security cover.

This perception is contrary to the inputs received by the I.B. HQs, and the LTTE has been placed in the category of 'unspecified quarters'. Such a calibration of inputs was nothing short of misrepresentation on the part of I.B. which may have resulted into misleading of the consideration of question of the security to be provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

Shri G.S. Bajpai, former Secretary (R), who was Secretary (S) at the period under examination, deposed before the Commission on the above threat perception report. In his deposition dated 5th. June, 1997, he stated :-

(Page 8)

"The threat assessment about Shri Rajiv Gandhi sent by SIB, Madras, on 12.12.89 as well as the observation made in Ex. 268, para 3, that 'the present attitude of these groups is not known' ...is obviously inconsistent.........."

What was the threat scenario after one year ? This is indicated from an assessment dt. December 29, 1990, sent by the then Director, Intelligence Bureau, to the Minister of State (Home) in which he emphasised the need for retaining 10, Janpath, residence of Shri Rajiv Gandhi in view of the extremely high threat perception to him. (Annexure S- 70, Ex. 278). The relevant extracts of the UO are reproduced below :-

"The following specific threats to Shri Rajiv Gandhi's security have come to notice in the very recent period.

Sikh Extremists

(i) Talwinder Singh Parmar.... is understood to have reached Delhi to carry out some 'big work' and become a 'Shaheed'.

(ii) The International Sikh Youth Federation (Northern Faction) has at a closed door meting explored the possibility of an attempt on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi....

(iii) Satnam Singh @ hard-core terrorism of BTFK(Manochahal group) has indicated that the members of their gang had been directed to carry out such specific annihilations including that of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

(iv) The Second Panthic Committee(Dr.Sohal Singh) has again reiterated their determination to eliminate Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

ULFA and other Extremist groups in North-East

(i) ULFA in league with Sikh extremists has planned an assassination attempt on Shri Rajiv Gandhi at a suitable opportunity.

(ii) The NSCN, ULFA and PLA all have plans to eliminate Shri Rajiv Gandhi ...

Tamil Extremists

The LTTE has threatened to cause harm to Shri Rajiv Gandhi alleging that he along with certain other Indian leaders were stumbling blocks to the achievement of the Eelam.

J&K Extremists

Aman Ullah Khan of the JKLF has held out a clear threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi............................................

3. The content of threat of the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi from various extremist organisations and terrorist outfits is hence increasing and has become even more all- encompassing.

24.3 The above assessment is undoubtedly alarming. In this assessment, it is seen that fresh element of grave threats from various quarters has emerged, which was rightly seen as an implication that threat to the life of Rajiv Gandhi had actually been increasing as time went by rather than "diminishing" and gradually "tapering off" as was predicted by the Intelligence Bureau in their earlier threat assessment of 3rd. January, 1990.

This fresh assessment was definitely a cause for action towards strengthening of the security of Rajiv Gandhi; however, no such action appears to have been initiated by the concerned security and intelligence agencies.

24.4 On January 23, 1990, in its circular, the Intelligence Bureau took into account the threat perceptions stated above but chose to merely reiterate the Security Arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi while on tour. (Annexure S- 72, Ex. 530). The only additional suggestion given by them was :-

5. "It is further to suggest that the personnel deployed on security duty should be briefed about the nature and degree of threat posed to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and alerted to remain sensitive to any threat for prompt and timely counter-action...."

24.5 This reaction of the Intelligence Bureau to the extremely grave nature of fresh threats to the life of Rajiv Gandhi was obviously grossly inadequate and disproportionate in nature.

The fresh threat perception appears to have been conveyed to Shri Rajiv Gandhi as is evident from a letter dated February 13, 1991, written by V. George, Private Secretary to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, to the Lt. General of Delhi requesting the Delhi Administration to beef up Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi in view of the threat perception given by the Intelligence Bureau. (Annexure S- 75). From the letter, it transpires that the Intelligence Bureau had suggested the following measures in view of the fresh security threats to Rajiv Gandhi :-

"The latest intelligence report communicated by IB gives an alarming note with regarding to the security arrangements or Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family members. IB has recommended a certain scale of security beefing up ...

(The intelligence report communicated vide IB's Secret circular memorandum No. 32/VS/90(3)-II dated 23rd January, 1991 states that "Besides providing adequate static armed guards, PSOs, Ring- round teams, Isolation Cordon, Pilot and Escort vehicle and other necessary security components adequately armed with conventional and automatic weapons, it would be necessary to enforce security precautions like searching, ensuring reliability of persons employed on armed duty, purity of food etc.)"

From the above, it gets reconfirmed that the suggestions given by the Intelligence Bureau were confined to a reiteration that the existing security arrangements be scrupulously followed. No fresh security arrangements were contemplated.



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