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Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter II

Sections 16 to 19

16. Commencement of campaign for General Elections 1991 and security arrangements | 17. Concern of Rajiv Gandhi for his security | 18. Proximate security and SPG | 19. Need for organising specially trained and specially equipped security units to discharge VVIP security duties at State level

Commencement of Campaign for General Elections 1991 and Security Arrangements

25 The commencement of election campaign in April 1991 led to a situation where national leaders of the country began hectic touring all over the country. By their constant outdoor exposure, these leaders naturally became more vulnerable to the attacks from terrorist and hostile forces. This was an occasion for the Intelligence Bureau to make a fresh assessment of the threats to them and prescribe preventive measures.

25.1 The then Cabinet Secretary, Shri V.C. Pande, during his deposition before the Commission on 21st. September, 1995, stated in this context :-

"Two significant changes took place in the security environment affecting Shri Rajiv Gandhi. On 30.01.1991 President's rule was imposed in Tamil Nadu and there was announcement of elections, on 19.04.1991. I am sure that the then Govt. must have reviewed the security arrangement of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

25.2 Let us analyse the reaction of the concerned agencies to this significant change in the security scenario. After the election campaign started, the Intelligence Bureau vide a detailed Circular dated 21st. March, 1991, (Annexure S- 77) laid down details of Security arrangements to be made for the Prime Minister and other threatened persons including Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This circular appears to take into account the suggestions made by the Directors General of Police of various states who were consulted by the IB. For the security of Rajiv Gandhi, the circular brought out the following fresh points :-

(i) Extra Bullet Proof Cars needed to be stationed in states as per the request of DsGP.

(ii) For Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the DsGP requested that 3 PSOs should accompany him from Delhi if he travels by air.

25.3 On April 18, in yet another Circular Memorandum, the Intelligence Bureau sensitised the States regarding VIP Security (Annexure S- 80). Significatly, in this circular, the IB stated that :-

"As use of explosives by terrorist and secessionist elements and other armed militants have proliferated, it would be necessary to organise proper anti-sabotage check of venues, camps, vehicles and other items and places connected with their visit. It would also be necessary to sensitise intelligence channels for the purpose of organising adequate preventive and protective arrangements."

25.4 The proposal given by the State DsGP earlier, inter alia, for providing 3 PSOs to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was decided to be implemented in the review report of Intelligence Bureau dated May 15, 1991 (Annexure S- 83, Ex. 393). This review stated:-

"5. As Rajiv Gandhi faces very serious threats, and V.P. Singh, L.K. Advani and A.B. Vajpayee face serious threats ..... . It has been felt that a small ring of trained protective personnel should accompany these leaders from Delhi as enhanced protection. The sanction of the MHA has hence been obtained for permitting the following security personnel to travel with the leaders and carry their weapons even while travelling in commercial flights;

(i) Rajiv Gandhi 3 PSOs

The arrangements have already been put in practice."

25.5 From the time Shri Rajiv Gandhi demitted charge as Prime Minister, this was the first concrete security measure decided by the security and intelligence agencies in terms of increase of manpower.

25.6 The second and last recommendation for increasing the quantum of security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was made by the Intelligence Bureau just a day prior to the assassination. The letter of JD, IB dated 20 May, 1991, (Annexure S- 84, Ex. 373) recommended to the Ministry of Home Affairs that :-

"Keeping the very high threat to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi in view, it is necessary to strengthen his security arrangements. It is requested that NSG escort may be provided to him immediately."

25.7 Let us see what were the concrete steps taken to beef up security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi in the above sequence.

Reactions of the Intelligence Bureau to most of the threat perceptions had been to 'reiterate' the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi and to 'sensitise' the State Governments about the fresh threats.

No concrete action appears to have been taken to beef up the proximate security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Two concrete suggestions are seen to have been made in this regard and both these suggested measures remained unimplemented. The first suggestion is incorporated in the Intelligence Bureau's assessment dt. 15th May, 1991 (Annexure S- 83) where it was decided to provide 3 PSOs to Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his tours. The sanction of the Ministry of Home Affairs was obtained for the additional posts, but the measure was, inexplicably, not implemented. The second suggestion was made on 20th May, 1991, (Annexure S 84) which was to immediately provide NSG cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This too, was never implemented.

On the part of the politicians, the two respective Prime Ministers - S/Shri V.P. Singh and Chandrashekhar, as well as their Home Ministers - S/Shri Mufti Mohammed Syed and Subodh Kant Sahay (MOS) - wrote letters to Shri Rajiv Gandhi exhorting him to adhere to the laid down security norms and suggesting use of bullet proof cars and civil construction works at his residence, which, according to ShriRajiv Gandhi himself were superfluous and added little to his security.

25.8 The fact that the Intelligence Bureau did nothing but reiterate security instructions during the period is admitted by Shri M.K. Narayanan, who was the Director Intelligence Bureau at that time. In his deposition dated 2nd. November, 1996, before the Commission, he stated :-

"During my second tenure as DIB very detailed instructions were given upgrading security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. As per my memory 17 or 18 times instructions in writing, were given. .....Beyond sending instructions, there was nothing more I could have done... Beyond sending instructions, nothing possible was to be done. Instructions regarding ring-round the VVIP was there already, but they were reiterated."

The I.B. authorities have stated that the charter of I.B. does not extend to oversee, control or supervise the implementation of the scheme. I.B. has no authority or jurisdiction over security in operation anywhere. But such reports can be called or field units can send such reports which may require rethinking on the security system. If Blue Book is not implemented by the States for the Prime Minister in the absence of SPG, would it not be in the charter or domain of the I.B. to propose for setting up any Central Force for the security of the Prime Minister ?

25.9 What stands out clearly from the above sequence is that there appears to be a continuous, deliberate under-estimation by the I.B. of the threat perception assessment to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi which implies that the I.B. deliberately misrepresented the facts pertaining to the threat perceptions relating to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi on the basis of which decisions were to be taken regarding the nature of security to be provided to him. No study was conducted at any of the three levels i.e. Intelligence and security agencies, bureaucrats and the Political executive to ensure an inbuilt, systemic implementation measure in the scheme.

25.10 Former Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar, when examined on this issue before the Commission was noncommittal. He stated :-

Deposition of Shri Chandrasekhar, TNCC-I W-1 dt. 26.4.1994 (Page No.3 dated 26.4.1994.)

"Elections were declared during the days of those reports. Elections were declared .... During the election days, the VIPs become more vulnerable in electioneering. So the Security Agencies have had to be more cautious and careful and politicians should be more cooperative."

"After 21st March, 1991, whether any security system of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was revised or not, I cannot say....."

"The security people approached me and I also approached Shri Rajiv Gandhi in connection with his security. I do not remember any security arrangement was revised or not, whatever was necessary was provided to him."

25.11 This was the scenario in which Shri Rajiv Gandhi visited Sriperumbudur on the night of 21st. May, 1991, and met a tragic and gory end.

Concern of Rajiv Gandhi for his Security

25.12 An impression has been sought to be created that actually, neither Shri Rajiv Gandhi nor the Congress (I) were really concerned about thes security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family and it is only later that blame of providing inadequate security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and his family is being put at the doorstep of the two successive Governments. Let us analyse the evidence which has come before the Commission in this regard.

25.13 V.P. Singh has contended that in the " No Confidence Motion" no MP of the Congress, not even Rajiv Gandhi raised the question on SPG /alternate Security arrangements/ inadequacy of Security.He stated :-

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 11.10.96

" It is interesting to note that two Congress dignitaries who have filed their affidavits or deposed were members of Lok Sabha during my tenure of office. No Confidence Motion was brought against my Govt. on 7th Nov, 1990. When a No-Confidence Resolution comes the opposition catalogues every defect of the Government and while those members were sitting in the Debate of No-Confidence who deposed here did not raise one single sentence in respect of lack of security nor did any Congress member raised that matter."

25.14 It has been deposed by several witnesses before the Commission that the question of Security was treated as a personal matter by Rajiv Gandhi. It appears that Shri Rajiv Gandhi himself did not want to make a public issue out of his security arrangements. Under these circumstances, non mention of the issue of inadequate security in his speech, therefore, cannot be said to mean that the ample evidence on record with regard to demand for SPG or equivalent security cover or differences in alternative security arrangements can be overlooked.

25.15 Some relevant depositions in this connection are reproduced below. It appears from these depositions that whereas an impression was created that Shri Rajiv Gandhi was indifferent to his security, as a matter of fact, he was quite conscious about the reduction in security and concerned about it. Evidence also indicates that he was reluctant to take up the matter of his own security with others. Shri B.G. Deshmukh stated :-

Deposition of B.G.DESHMUKH dt. 2nd April,1996

Page No.9

"Shri Rajiv Gandhi was never bothered about his security. He never asked about security and said, "this is your function, not mine. I am not going to ask" were his words."

Deposition of Shri P. Chidambaram dt. 6.11.1996

(Page No.1-2)

"Once or twice Shri Rajiv Gandhi mentioned to me that for his outside tours he was accompanied by very lean security...."

"Rajiv Gandhi was very stoical about his security."

Deposition of V. George dt. 26.02.1997

" ...... Though I was not taking part in discussions relating to his security arrangements but I know that Shri Rajiv Gandhi was not satisfied with his security arrangements.

.. Rajivji was concerned about lack of security even during Shri Chandra Shekhar's period..... "

25.16 The fact that Shri Rajiv Gandhi took active part in the formulation of his security is evident from the minutes of the meeting held in his residence on 28th February, 1990, (Annexure S- 60), in which he made important suggestions regarding undertaking some security measures in his residence and also enquired about the meagre firing practice of the Delhi Police personnel deputed for his security. Earlier, at Bombay, he is quoted to have remarked (Annexure S- 59) on 24th February, 1990, that the security personnel provided to him by the National Front Government were "not geared to respond to the situation in demand." He is also reported to have said that he said he had learnt that his securitymen had not even been given any preliminary exercise in protection and security measures at the time and added that security was not a question of number, money or equipment but of responses to a particular situation.

In an interesting communication of SIB, New Delhi, dated 19.03.1990, (Annexure S- 63) it has been reported that :-

"Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has been provided with security by Delhi Police. These Delhi Personnel perform Duties at No.10, Janpath where the former Prime Minister resides. It is learnt that the former Prime Minister is not satisfied with the performance of the personnel on duty. He finds them lacking in etiquettee and fitness. Recently he himself found a few duty personnel stretching themselves in the bullet proof car meant for him. Annoyed by this, Rajiv Gandhi ordered them reportedly to give him the vehicle's kay and leave the place. He also reportedly passed adverse remarks about them.

....personnel having performed duties with the former Prime Minister earlier, may be posted again for such duties with him after their repatriation, by the Delhi Police authorities."

The above single instance clearly shows the active concern of Shri Rajiv Gandhi for his security. However, one of the clearest indications of the concern of Shri Rajiv Gandhi with regard to his security comes from the deposition of Ashwini Kumar Chopra, who stated as follows :-

Deposition of Shri Ashwini Kumar Chopra, dt. 26.07.1995

".... By that time Rajiv Gandhi was very much annoyed with Chandra Shekhar and others on his security and alleged spying which was going on.

.. I personally feel that one of the reasons that Rajiv Gandhi started hating Chandra Shekhar was that Chandra Shekhar intentionally did not provide proper security cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. My feeling is that on the basis of what Rajiv Gandhi told me in our meetings, a number of times...... My last discussion with Shri Rajiv Gandhi took place on .... 19th May, 1991 ...... he told me ...I have done the biggest mistake of my life by making Chandra Shekhar as the Prime Minister of this country and he has not given any attention to my security...."

Rajiv's own view on his security finds expression in the press report in 'The Hindustan Times' dt. 25th. February, 1990, (Annexure S- 59 EX. NO. 523) captioned Security men 'ill trained' in which Shri Rajiv Gandhi is reported to have observed that the security personnel provided to him by the National Front Government were "not geared to respond to the situation in demand." He is also reported to have told the press persons that security was not a question of number, money or equipment but of responses to a particular situation.

What Shri Rajiv Gandhi told Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer for sending reply to the letter of Shri Chandrashekhar dt. 4.1.91 is also a reflection of his reaction to the existing security arrangement. This has been narrated by Mani Shankar Aiyer during his deposition before before the Commission on 5th. December, 1996. He stated :-

(Page 22)

"...Shri Rajiv Gandhi told me, on or around 10.1.91, to prepare a draft reply to P.M. Shri Chandrashekhar's letter of 4.1.91. Rajivji told me that he had asked Shri Chidambaram to prepare the draft reply but Shri Chidambaram was ...'missing the wood for the trees'.... Shri Rajiv Gandhi specifically instructed me on the broad points...That broad point being that security is a system and either we have a system which provides security or letters from those responsible for security taking out insurance in case something goes wrong..."

Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer goes on to explain how, on each security measure suggested in the letter of Shri Chandrashekhar, Shri Rajiv Gandhi had indicated that the measures did not, in concrete terms, amount to much. He stated :-

(Page 23)

"Rajivji's simple point was that a B.P. car provides no protection for a person as threatened as him in the absence of Advance Security Liaison arrangements. It also provides no assurance of protection when proximate security is downgraded from a ring of highly trained, highly motivated PSOs of the rank of SP to a single PSO, of the rank of Sub Inspector... who have received nothing like the training received by SPG PSOs, who do not have the equipment or the arms or the arms practice that every single SPG personnel has, and who are not equipped with technical equipment and gadgets..."

Shri V.P. Singh has quoted from the book "My Presidential Years" by Shri R. Venkataraman about Rajiv Gandhi's satisfaction. It may have been so recorded in the book but from the evidence on record, it is amply clear that he was not satisfied with his security arrangements.

Shri P.V. Narsimha Rao, former Prime Minister, has also deposed so before the Commission.

Smt. Sonia Gandhi, the widow of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, has expressed it in the following words:-

"My husband was under no illusion about the so- called security provided to him after the change of government. He was conversant with all aspects of the question. He knew perfectly well that posting untrained police constables and officers around his house did not constitute quality replacement of his earlier security system. there were daily instances of the inadequacy of the security provided. To mention only one - on one occasion the policeman in our daughter's detail actually stole something belonging to her and was caught red-handed. Some time after we had sent in an official complaint about the incident, the man in question was put on duty with my husband.

There were occasions on his tours, as in his visit to Meham, when there were no police to be seen at all, the government of Haryana being under Mr. Om Prakash Chautala, who was bitterly opposed to the Congress and my husband. In March 1991, our son accompanied my husband on a tour to Patna and witnessed the total lack of security around his father. He told me when he came back that if something was not done about it, his father would very soon be killed. The local Government of Bihar at the time was also inimical to the Congress Party and its President.

But beyond the formal protests made by the Congress Party, my husband felt that it was the duty of the government which had full and complete knowledge of the threats he was under, to provide him with appropriate security. In fact he had with some of his colleagues worked out a detailed plan of a system to cover him during his election campaign which would compensate for the gross inadequacy of the one made available to him by the government.

But eventually he was not able to implement it because it would have entailed a big expenditure for the Congress Party and further more would have come into conflict with the existing set up. As far as the government was concerned, it is my conviction that Mr. V.P. Singh and his political advisors - particularly one of them who had been Minister of State for Home Affairs (Department of Internal Security) in my husband's government - could not possibly have been oblivious of the serious nature of the threat to his life and the implications of withdrawing proper security cover from - viz. virtually providing an open invitation to liquidate him.

Indeed, the Government in 1990 had deliberately engineered an atmosphere of ridicule and hostility around the provision of security, especially such issues as the expense involved and the number of personnel, during the years he was Prime Minister. This dilution of security was a politically motivated act, carried out with the intention of increasing my husband's threat perception and reducing his level of mass contact. He was fully conscious of this design and talked about it to us when we expressed our anxiety to him about his safety".

The above version of Smt. Sonia Gandhi clearly indicates that Shri Rajiv Gandhi was not satisfied with security arrangements made for him while he was on tours outside Delhi.

Proximate Security and SPG

26 The question, which begs an inquiry at this stage is, what is this concept of proximate security? A question also arises as to what ingredients made the specially constituted proximate security system called the SPG superior to other systems with regard to providing proximate security.

26.1 The concept of proximate security has been defined in Section 2(g) of the SPG Act itself. Shri Shyamal Datta, Director, SPG, during his deposition before the Commission has given a similar definition of this concept. 'Proximate security' has been defined in the SPG Act as follows :-

S.2 "(g) 'proximate security means protection provided from close quarters, during journey by road, rail, aircraft, watercraft or on foot or any other means of transport and shall include the places of functions, engagements,residence or halt and shall comprise ring round teams, isolation cordons, the sterile zone around, and the rostrum and access control to the person or members of his immediate family;"

26.1.1 The implementation of this concept is narrated by Director, SPG, Shri Shyamal Datta, in his deposition dt 28th. January, 1997. He stated :-

" This will also include ring- round duties, isolation cordon and to provide sterile zone around the protectee and rostrum by maintain strict access control."

26.2 It is pertinent at this stage to find out where, in what circumstances and in which locations the proximate security protection is required to be provided to a protectee.

The most comprehensive answer to this question is found in the judgement of Supreme Court of India (I.A. No 3 of 1996 in SLP (Civil) No 19983 of 1996) dated 11th. October, 1996, (Annexure S- 86) while dwelling upon the application of the Government of India for change of venue of trial court where matters relating to former Prime Minister Shri Narsimha Rao were pending trial. The Hon. Supreme Court observed as follows :-

(page 16)

"The expression "Proximate Security" has to be given a purposive meaning ...... It has to be borne in mind that the protectee is a protectee all the time, as long as he keeps breathing for the period of ten years, from the date he demits office of the Prime Minister. ...... It goes with the person of the protectee as the shadow would a man."

26.3 'Proximate security' of a protectee, thus is a serious and highly specialised business.

A fierce debate had arisen over the withdrawal or, rather replacement of SPG cover from Rajiv Gandhi after he had ceased to be the Prime Minister. Before the merits of the points and issues raised in this debate are taken up, it will be pertinent to examine in details the 'Proximate Security System' as offered by the exclusive 'Special Protection Group' (SPG).

26.4 The broad operational framework of SPG has been adverted to earlier in this chapter and does not require to be reiterated.

As regards the constitution of the SPG, one of the most authentic accounts comes from the depostion of Shri P. Chidambaram, who was closely involved with the setting up of the SPG and providing it a statutory identity in his capacity as Minister of State for Internal Security during the period when Shri Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister. In his deposition before the Commission, speaking about the SPG, Shri Chidambaram stated :-

Deposition dt. 7.11.1996

"I tried to make SPG a very effective organisation and I believe that it is an effective organisation......

There is difference between the cover provided under the Blue Book and the SPG cover. SPG .... adopted the concept of proximate security cover. I do not think this concept is so clearly spelt out in the Blue Book..... Absence of proximate security made Indiraji vulnerable. Proximate security is some kind of human ring-round the protected persons.

.... SPG was a specially trained force.....It was headed by Senior and very specially trained personnel of the rank of IG, DIG and SP. More than the rank it is the special training that is imparted to SPG personnel, that is crucial. SPG also had several special features like advance security liaison officer who will be earmarked as the function officer..... They had over- riding powers to over-rule other security agencies. "

The emphasis of Shri P. Chidambaram while highlighting the special features of SPG is on

(i) specialised training imparted to the SPG personnel for providing proximate security,

(ii) a system of Advance Security Liaison (ASL) and,

(iii) the overriding power of SPG to over rule all other organisations engaged in security etc.

26.4.1 Let us examine the above attributes of the SPG one by one. Shri Shyamal Datta, Director SPG, during his deposition before the Commission elaborated on the mechanism of proximate security adopted by the SPG. In his deposition dt. 28th January, 1997, he stated :-

"... The first layer of protection is the isolation with the help of which access to the protectee is enforced by ensuring that all those having an access to the protectee are identified, screened and checked. This amounts to isolation cordon. The ring-round duties are provided by the security officers around the protectee. Before these two layers are thrown, the area to be visited by the protectee is subjected to physical screening and anti sabotage check to make the area sterile. Beyond the isolation cordon is the cordon provided by the State Police."

26.4.2 What is the training given to the SPG personnel who are charged with the above responsibility to provide proximate security?

In his deposition dt. 28th January, 1997, Shri Shyamal Datta, Director, SPG, elaborated as follows:-

"In SPG, on joining, an officer is put through 12 weeks of basic foundation course during which the stress is on physical fitness, firing, unarmed combat, technical and communication skills besides theories and principles of security and protection. In addition to this, there are special courses for close protection, personal security officers, offensive and defensive driving, anti-sabotage check and other operational details. Refresher courses are also organised from time to time. All officers have to be on the training ground twice a week and take part in physical fitness, unarmed combat and firing practices. The operational officers are subjected to annual tests, the clearing of which is must to remain in the operational areas and get entitled to maximum special allowances."

In the operational details furnished to the Commission regarding SPG (Annexure S- 6 & 7), it has been highlighted that the SPG imparts training in various aspects connected with close protection drills and having a bearing on VVIP security with a view to maintaining a high level of physical fitness and to fine-tune the operational skills of SPG officers. The Syllabi of the training programme is constantly reviewed and updated to effectively thwart threats from newer areas and in keeping with existing threat perception. It has also been stated that the SPG has been constantly carrying out a review of the performance of its personnel and those found unsuitable to meet the operational commitments of the organisation are repatriated to their respective parent departments.

The above evidence brings out the standards of excellence in proximate security duties followed by the SPG. It also demonstrates that the training imparted to the SPG personnel is dynamic in nature which takes into account the changing threat perception and adapts itself accordingly.

26.4.3 The feature of Advance Security Liaison (ASL) has been highlighted by Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer, who, during his deposition before the Commission set about analysing the SPG security system in details. He stated :-

Page 29

"SPG advance security liaison consisted of SPG officers being sent in advance to all places due to be visited by the Prime Minister.... These SPG officers were armed with the authority to over-rule any local authority, including Chief Minister....

Shri Shyamal Datta, elaborating on the concept of Advance Security liaison in his deposition dt. 28th January, 1997, before the Commission stated :-

" I think on 14th May, 1985, the M.H.A. issued instructions under which there has been a provision of advance security liaison by representatives of the I.B., the State Police and the S.P.G.... the representative of S.P.G. is invariably an officer of not below the rank of an Asstt. Director. Under the advance security liaison, the three officers carry out the A.S.L.(Advance Security Liaison) with the help of the organisers of the functions. To cover one visit of the P.M. and one function, on an average, 8 officers are deployed from the S.P.G. in addition to the close protection detail and technical and communication officers....."

The power of the SPG, which has been described by various witnesses as 'overriding' stems from the section 14 of the SPG Act, which lays down that :-

S. 14. "It shall be the duty of every Ministry and Department of Administration, every Indian Mission, every local or other authority of every civil or military authority to act in aid of the Director or any member of the Group whenever called upon to do so in furtherance of the duties and responsibilities assigned to such Director or member."

26.4.4 How does the security system of SPG function keeping in view the above specialised features? During his deposition before the Commission on 28th January, 1997, , Shri Shyamal Datta, Director, SPG, explained the functioning of the security system as follows :-

"The personnel function in a given system of SPG. If he is in the house, there is outer perimeter manned by SPG personnel and inner perimeter of SPG manning different points and close protection detail for the proximate security of the VVIP. These are three rings. When he is on move, he is escorted by his close protection detail and the second escort component. When he is on journey to attend a public meeting or any function there close protection detail and isolation manned by SPG.... Close proximity is looked after by the close protection detail consisting of six officers of the rank of Sub- Inspector upwards, headed by an Assistant Directorr of the SP rank. In addition to this, there will be three to four officers of the rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector upwards at the isolation. Overall charge for the ASL and coverage of the visit rests with an officer of the rank of Dy Director or Asstt. Director, depending on the availability. Dy. Director would be of the DIG level....."

".....There is a close protection detail in which there are six persons of whom one remains attached as PSO and the rest five have assigned tasks. The concept of PSO is mixed in this close protection detail. All the Six collectively perform the task of proximate security. It is an interwoven system."

26.4.5 The SPG claims to be the best organisation in the country as far as the system of proximate security in concerned. Shyamal Datta, Director, SPG, during his deposition before the Commission on 28th January, 1997, stated that "In SPG' 12 years existence there has never been a lapse leading to the breach of proximity security."

Commenting upon the unsuccessful attempt made on the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi at Rajghat on 2nd. October, 1986, Shri Shyamal Datta stated :-

"At the incident of Raj Ghat of 2.10.1986, there was no breach of proximate security but had the shot hit, there would have been a breach. The ring- round team has to catch the bullet."

27 The above evidence underscores the fact that Special Protection Group (SPG) was raised and maintained as a highly specialised force exclusively assigned to provide proximate security to its protectees. Due to its exclusive nature and special features enumerated above, the SPG is rightfully rated as the best proximate security system in the country.

28 The most emphatic endorsement of the superiority of SPG comes from Shri P.V. Narsimha Rao, who has been protected by the SPG continuously since 1991 both in his capacity as Prime Minister as well as former Prime Minister. Commenting on the SPG during his deposition before the Commission, he stated :-

Deposition dt. 21st. April, 1991 (page 2)

"I would like to submit equivalent of SPG security could be only SPG. Whatever alternative suggested was less than SPG..."

"SPG is the result of mature thinking of experts in the field as to what could be done to afford maximum possible security to the VVIP."

29 In this context, the following observations of Justice J.S. Verma Commission assume significance :-

(Report of VCI, Chapter IX, P. 40, para 9.17)

"The fact that the standard of proximate security provided by the S.P.G. is of the highest order available in the country is undisputed. N.S.G. cover for the proximate security comes next in order. Provision of proximate security by any State /UT police force in undoubtedly of a much lower quality and level and the same varies from State to State since there is an appreciable difference in the standard of performance of the police forces in different States...."

30 A pertinent question arises at this stage as to how were the States / UTs equipped in terms of providing VIP security when the decision was taken to withdraw the SPG from Rajiv Gandhi and entrust his security solely to the States and UTs concerned.

30.1 In 1990, when the States /UTs were entrusted the responsibility of solely providing protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi as per the Cabinet decision of 30th January, 1990, there were no exclusive units available in the States which were raised and trained specially and exclusively for VIPs proximate security.

30.1.1 It is significant to advert here to a specific recommendation to this effect in the Inquiry report of Justice Thakkar Commission relating to the assassination of late Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi. It appears that this recommendation had not been implemented at all. It was specifically recommended by Justice Thakkar that :-

Need for Organising Specially Trained and Specially Equipped Security Units to Discharge VVIP Security Duties at State Level

"... A security set up exclusively for providing security and protection to the PM has been organised at Delhi. It is designed to be manned by a highly trained staff fully equipped by the latest security paraphernalia and gadgets.

But the position so far as the different States are concerned is far from clear. It appears that arrangements are made on ad-hoc basis whenever the PM visits a State Personnel drawn from the local police force are assigned security duties as and when the occasion arises. It does not appear that there is any exclusive security unit on a permanent basis to discharge VVIP security duties in every State. Terrorism and violence having gained a foothold all over the world including India, protection of VVIP has become a specialized job requiring to be handled by fully trained personnel possessing latest equipment and the know-how for the use of such equipment. .....reliance on personnel drawn from local police force not having the benefit of specialized training and not possessed of specialized equipments may prove inadequate and may not serve the desired purpose.

The States can create a special cell to meet the demands of the situation. The personnel inducted in the cell can be imparted specialized training by a central agency and can be equipped with latest security paraphernalia and gadgets... uniformity in training and equipment of such units is most essential and desirable. All the State security units can therefore be conveniently trained as also equipped by the identical central agency devised by the Central Government and manned by experts. This will go a long way towards the fulfilment of the need for having uniformly well trained and uniformly well equipped security personnel to protect the VVIP as fully and as well as possible in these stormy times when the VVIP visits any state. The matter accordingly requires to be tackled on a high priority. "

30.2 Before this Commission, the Superintendent of Police (Security) of Tamil Nadu Police, Shri Nanchil Kumaran, who was accompanying Shri Rajiv Gandhi on his fateful trip to Sriperumbudur, and was greviously injured in the human bomb blast, was examined regarding the comparative effectiveness of the proximate security systems. He categorically stated as follows :-

Deposition of Sri Nanchil Kumaran. dt 04.01.96.

"It makes a difference in ring round by the local police and ring round by N.S.G., and also ring round by S.P.G. The local police is advised to adopt a simple way of functioning in providing security arrangementts to VIP and to avoid ostentation. The local security personnel are men who are very familiar to the local level party leaders and volunteers and they function in plain cloth while doing this ring round duty. The NSG Security Guards are an outside outfit unfamiliar to the local level leaders and volunteers and they function with a high profile in their battle look black cat uniform displaying heavy automatic weapons like AK-47 which is likely to create a psychological impact on a local level unfamiliar crowd and act as a deterrent to them from geting closer to them or to the VIP. This advantage is available to the NSG. The SPG is centrally trained outfit under a Statute exclusively for the purpose of VIP security. For the local policemen, the security work is one among their multifarious duties. In that way, the Central ring round by SPG makes a difference."

30.3 The security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi which could be provided by the States /UTs concerned, thus appears to fall far short of actual requirements. The question of adequacy, effectiveness and quality of the alternative security arrangements provided for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, ater SPG protection was withdrawn from him requires to be dealt with elaborately. Several arguments and counter arguments have been put forward by various witnesses who have deposed before the Commission in this connection. These are being dealt with later in this chapter.

31 It has been vigorously argued before the Commission by Shri V.P. Singh and the concerned officers who were dealing with the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi during the period when SPG protection was withdrawn that the alternative security cover provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi in pursuance to the decisions of the Cabinet dated 30th January, 1990 and 1st February, l990 was adequate, met the threat perception effectively and was, qualitywise equal to, or even superior to the SPG. Shri V.P. Singh claims that the very fact that Shri Rajiv Gandhi was safe during his tenure as Prime Minister shows by itself that the security arrangements provided for him were adequate.

33.1 Following are the excerpts of the depositions of the relevant witnesses who have deposed before the Commission on this issue :

Deposition of CW 24 Shri V.P. Singh dt. 11.10.1996 (Page 8)

".... The Cabinet in its consideration took the inputs and also the unanimous decision of the security agencies... and its collective wisdom came to the conclusion that adequate security which could take care of the then threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi could be taken care of by the alternative security scheme provided... "

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 30.10.96

"... I made arrangements of his security which stood the test of time that he was safe during my tenure and inspite of extensive tours in the country, no harm came to him.."

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 26.11.96

I made the statement that alternative security arrangement for Shri Rajiv Gandhi could even be more than the SPG on the ground that I had given instructions to the security experts that the fullest security cover should be given to Shri Rajiv Gandhi... I had put no limits to the extent of cover to be given to Shri Rajiv

Gandhi, that cover could have been more or could have been the same."

32 The contention that during the period when V.P. Singh was the Prime Minister no harm came to Shri Rajiv Gandhi and he remained safe, cannot be said to mean that security provided for him was adequate and effective. The other argument put forth in this context repeatedly by Shri V.P. Singh was that

Shri Rajiv Gandhi was in the habit of violating security instructions and breaching security arrangements as was evident from the letters written to him by MOS (H) Subodh Kant Sahay, Home Minister Shri Mufti Mohammed Syed and Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar to Rajiv Gandhi. Even if this argument is true, and such violations by the protectee actually existed, this fact does not, in any manner, justify a thinking that any system of security may be taken to be sufficient. On the contrary, this fact, by itself, called for a need to devise a foolproof security system which could cope with such contingencies.

Let us examine whether the contention that the quality of protection provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi by Shri V.P. Singh and his successor was equal to, or better than the SPG is borne out by available evidence .

32.1 The system of SPG has been examined extensively and its superiority over any other existing system of proximate security has been established beyond doubt. As regards the alternative security arrangement, in his deposition before the Commission, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, on 2nd May, 1997, has categorically stated that :

(page 4) "In my view the withdrawal of SPG did result in the dilution of the security available to Rajiv Gandhi. "

Deposition dt. 7th May1997 (Page 6)

"Whatever security was provided to Rajiv Gandhi was SPG minus. Nothing can be equal to SPG. Only SPG can be equal to SPG."

32.2 while making a comparison of the two systems, Shri P.V. Narasimha Rao, former Prime Minister deposed before the Commission on 7th May, 1997, as follows: :- lm 15

(Page 5) "...in the SPG security system there is a system of advance security liaison, and that proximate security cover is very much effective compared to that cover by the State Police. The SPG personnel are specially trained and motivated persons. SPG system was the number one system in India. Had it not been so, there would have been no need of creating such a force."

32.2.1 Shri P. Chidambaram deposed at length before the Commission about the special features of the SPG. Regarding the alternative security arrangements he stated as follows :

Deposition of P. Chidambaram

"Under Delhi Police cover given to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, some of these features were not there....they were not specially trained officers. I do not think they could over-rule the Delhi Police hierarchy. There was ringround provided. There was advance security liaison but not by officers of seniority and training like SPG. A handful of officers, f the rank of Inspector or may be Sub-Inspector were attached to the team that was protecting Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Ring-round Team for Shri Rajiv Gandhi under SPG cover was headed by SP level officer and his PS0 then was then a SP level officer."

32.2.2 Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer, ex-MP, has deposed before the Commission extensively over the comparative merits of the SPG protection. He has highlighted the two essential strong points of SPG protection scheme - Advance Security Liaison system and proximate security system - both of which gave an over-riding power to the SPG over others as laid down by the SPG Act.

Relevant extracts are reproduced below :

Deposition of Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer, dt. 5.12.96 (Paqe-3-7)

"....I believe I am perhaps the only person in India who has seen security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi on tours before SPG was constituted, after SPG was constituted after the SPG Act was enacted, after Shri Rajiv Gandhi ceased to be the P.M. and after SPG was withdrawn from him.... The single most

important aspect of SPG cover with which I was concerned was "advance security liaison"... the key difference between the security cover provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi by the SPG and after SPG was withdrawn was that the alternative security arrangements provided by the National Front Government with effect from 9th February, 1990 did not make any provision for "advance security liaison"....the speech made by Shri P.Chidambaram on...13.05.1993. Ex.505 .... I draw attention to columns 418 to 419..."SPG was built on two principles. One was proximate security, the other was the entire support arrangements which includes.. advance liaison." ....

Shri G.S. Bajpai, deposing before the Commission on 4th June, 1997, on the comparative evaluation of SPG and State Police protection stated that:

(Page 7) "I am aware that there is no provision in any State for any specialised proximate security equivalent to SPG to be provided to any high dignitary. SPG personnel are specially trained for providing proximate security. The system of security that would have been available to Shri Rajiv Gandhi would therefore be not equivalent to that which SPG could have provided....such system of proximate security would not be available with the State Police...The State Police has no power to overrule or veto.... There is no system of advance security liaison in the alternative scheme prepared by IB for Shri Rajiv Gandhi."

32.3 Evidence available before the Commission does not, therefore, leave any room for doubt that the SPG protection was definitely superior to any other existing alternative security system in the country. The repeated statement of Shri V.P. Singh that the alternative security system could even be higher or

equal to SPG will carry no conviction with anyone, not even with the security experts or bureaucrat experts. On the contrary, the experts have testified that there is no comparison of the scheme with the SPG protection cover.

33 It has been argued by Shri V.P. Singh that even SPG is not foolproof. He has attempted to advance this argument in his deposition as follows :

Deposition of V.P. Singh dt.11.10.1996.

(PageNo.8) Despite SPG cover access control can be breached. I have shown the incidence of Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao and also the fear of SPG to the ex-P.M. Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao that access control can be breached even at Tis Hazari.

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 11.10.1996

(Page No.10) Even SPG cover is not a fool-proof thing. I refer to page 287 of Justice Verma Commission Report. On page 288 it points out that while the then Prime Minister Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao was addressing a public meeting a senior Sewa dal leader insisted that about 50-60 pressmen would like to meet Prime Minister before he left. The Prime Minister ultimately conceded the request and it comments in the end as verification regarding pressmen's identity and screening of the equipment they were carrying with them had been done in a hurry and in a cursory manner. The Prime Minister was in very vulnerable situation, when pressmen did not behave in a disciplined manner and surrounded him on all sides throwing all security precautions to the wind.

Page No.3

There is a second incident in case of Shri P.V.Narasimha Rao in Bhopal on page 289. The Prime Minister inspected guard of honour of the Sewa Dal volunteers and thereafter proceeded to the Shamiana where party men were sitting. The Prime Minister was mobbed by party men and had to be extricated with considerable difficulty by security men...."

33.1 In the context of the points raised by Shri V.P. Singh regarding the performance of the SPG in specific given situations, Director, SPG, was confronted with the concerned incidents as related in the Report of Justice Verma Commission. He has given a categorical clarification. The following extract of the deposition of Shri Shyamal Datta, Director SPG is self explanatory:

Deposition of Shyamal Datta dt 28.01.97

"....I am of the view that the pressmen and the party workers who created a melee around the Prime Minister must have been frisked, checked and identified before being allowed in the sterile area. The equipment of the photographers must have been also checked. There was no vulnerability except mobbing or a disorderly situation around the protectee. SPG would not have allowed the instances stated in Exhibit 379(3,4,5)."

33.2 While deposing on these points, Shri Shyamal Datta has elaborated on the extremely cautious approach of the SPG and how the system of proximate protection as incorporated in the SPG ensures maximum protection to the protectee. On being asked to explain the operational details, Shyamal Datta, Director SPG stated:

"without frisking, checking and identifying, no one would be allowed to enter the sterile zone. We permit shaking of hands by the crowd with the protectee taking the above mentioned precautions....We try to prevent the protectee to mix with the crowd without frisking identifying and checking but sometimes the protectee overrules and we run the risk. Else legally we can prevent the protectee to mix without the measures of frisking, identifying and checking..."

"...If the Prime Minister stops suddenly on the route, I have the right to tell him that the carcade would not stop depending on the situation and the types of people assembled. If he does not listen to me, than my escort component will immediately get down from the car, rush to that place, take charge of the situation by having a feel of the crowd and immediately check if they are carrying any garlands and the incharge of the detail who is sitting in the VVIP car will not allow the P.M.to get down before the escort officers intimate him that the situation is O.K. and VVIP can come down...

33.3 In the context of provision of 'Fool Proof Security System' the following extract of deposition of Shri K.N. Thakur, Jt. Director, Intelligence Bureau, dated 25th April, 1996, assumes significance :

"No security system in the world is fool-proof. On two occasions that I recollect, once in India during Justice Mathew Commission of Inquiry into the assassination of Shri Lalit Narain Mishra, it was stated in the report of the Commission that fool-proof security is a myth which can be conceived if the VIP is completely locked. Secondly, Justice Warren Commission when inquiring into the assassination of President Kennedy, asked the thief of Security to the President at the time that according to American perception, if the assassin is determined to get at the President, sooner or later, he will succeed; to this the security Chief replied that was to create barriers of security between the assassin and the target whereby he will be protected. The security set up of Israel, of U.S.President of Germany, of France and U.K. are considered excellent.

33.3.1 The former Foreign Secretary of India, Shri J. N.Dixit, while deposings before the Commission on 11th April, 1996, corroborated this view. He stated :

"Based on my long experience in the Government of India, even the most fool-proof security arrangement can be defeated by a single determined terrorist or violent person."

33.4 Therefore, what was needed at that time in terms of security requirements of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was making available for his security an effective, dedicated, committed, well trained, modern, flexible and dynamic security system, which couId effectively "create barriers of security between the assassin and the target" whereby he would have been protected.

34 In the same context, Shri V.P. Singh has raised another argument which implies that the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi could not possibly have been prevented even if SPG had been protecting him. Shri V.P. Singh contends that the fault in non-implementation of the security scheme did not lie with the State Police but with the organisers, i.e. Congress (I). He has alleged that it was the Congress (I) whose workers and organisers escorted the human bomb, Dhanu, to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. According to him, under these circumstances, even the SPG could not have prevented her. Some witnesses have said that if State Police had frisked Dhanu, her identification checking would have been done, Dhanu could have had no access to the proximity of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

The alleged complicity of the Congress (I) workers would be examined in the conspiracy aspect Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, while deposing on this aspect contended that SPG would not have let such a situation arise. In his deposition dt. 5th. December, 1996, he has stated that:-

".... .the Verma Commission at para 11.13, page 56, holds the non-frisking of the women at the site to be the responsibility of the women police officials and not the Congress Party?...important point is if SPG or SPG- like advance liaison had been provided,neither the Congress nor the women police officers could have got away with such murderous negligence."

34.1 Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, actually has gone one step further and has argued that the implementation was faulty because the alternative security system did not incorporate the powers and checks and balances provided in the system of SPG.

34.2 This contention of Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar is also shared by Shri M.K. Narayanan, who during his deposition before the Commission had categorically stated that "if there would have been SPG in the control of proximate security, then the lady assassin would not have been in a position to have access to Shri Rajiv Gandhi".

When confronted with this statement, Shri V.P. Singh, during his deposition before this Commission on 24th October, 1996, countered that :

"I do not agree with the statement of Shri Narayanan .... Page 5 of his statement 3rd November, 1995, he says "if all the arrangement which had been suggested and for which instructions have gone both from Delhi and Madras had been strictly followed and implemented, then the arrangements should have been considered adequate to meet any threat as far as we know". This makes it clear that there was nothing wrong with the arrangement, but the fault was with the implementation ...

34.2.1 It is strange that Shri V.P. Singh, who appeared to have scrupulously followed the advice of the intelligence and security experts while formulating security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, has chosen to disagree with the opinion of this crucial Intelligence expert.

34.3 Shri V.P. Singh has expanded on the theme that State Police personnel are equally competent, and on many occasions, they have proved their mettle. Here, there exists a contradiction. On one hand, Shri V.P. Singh has blamed the organisers and the State Police for faulty implementation of the security arrangements which, according to him, were otherwise adequate; on the other hand, he has extolled the virtues of the local / State Police in their competence to protect a VIP at least as well as the SPG.

The oral evidence of Shri V.P. Singh, on this part is reproduced below :

Deposition of V.P. Singh dt. 24.10.1996 Page No.2-4

"....during my tenure it was this police, an ordinary policeman, as you say, who saw that there was no injury to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. It was they who laid their lives down along with Shri Rajiv Gandhi...."

"...in my personal experience it was the proximate security of the State Police that protected me against violence."

Deposition dt. 24.10.96

"... And also in the sad event of Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, the very fact that the ring-round of policemen in Rajiv Gandhi was so tight that nobody was else allowed to come, not one congressman died except Dhanu and one Mahila congress one. The bodies speak more powerfully than any arguments What was done by the State Police and what was done by the Congress. The dead bodies of Policemen are evidence of the sacrifices of the State Police and that of Dhanu and the Mahila Congress is evidence of what Congress did. Congress drilled holes in the security, and to cover up this, now they blame the police.

The death of policemen who were around the protectee Shri Rajiv Gandhi cannot be an argument that there was ring round function performed by them preventing breach of access control. They were simply part of the crowd without performing their duty of providing proximate security.�

34.4 In order to prove that the alternative security cover protecting Shri Rajiv Gandhi when he died, was as effective and adequate as SPG, Shri V.P Singh has extensively quoted the Action Taken Report of the Government with regard to Justice Verma Commission. He has put the following arguments based on the ATR:�

"...Action Taken Report on Verma Commission. It is a post-assassination analysis where the benefit of hind sight is there and it is clearly stated that the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi did not take place because of lack of security but because of faulty implementation....The A.T.R. also says that the National Front Government made adequate security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi.... "

Depostion of V.P. Singh dt. 11.10.1996

"....para 4 of the Action Taken Report of Justice Verma Commission Report.. "The Government finds it difficult to share the perception of the Commission on the lapses attributed to the Central Govt. and the IB...."

34.5 This defence put forward by Shri V.P.Singh appears to be unreasonable. It may be recalled that the Action Taken Report of the Government on the Report of Justice Verma Commission itself has been a subject of considerable controversy and had to be amended later in face of protests. The ATR was finally modified as the Government, after re examination of the entire matter felt that in earlier ATR, notice was not taken of the categorical findings and recommendations of the Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry. When in the Parliament, this was pointed out, the Government re examined the ATR and had to modify ATR and agree with the findings and recommendations of the Report of Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry.

Moreover, the Action Taken Report, which articulates the view of the Government cannot be used to argue against the categorical findings of a Commission of Inquiry. Suffice it to say that the this Commission, in its present assignment, can only keep in view the findings and recommendations of Justice Verma Commission and is not required to go into the debate is the Government on the findings of the Justice Verma Commission.

Regarding the scope and parameters of the Inquiry by this Commission into the security aspect, Shri B. Datta, learned Counsel for the Central Government, during arguments on this subject, on 7th May, 1997, put forth the proposition that this Commission of Inquiry (JCI) is an independent and distinct Commission of Inquiry not required to go into the terms of reference of Justice J.S. Verma Commission of Inquiry; while arriving at its findings, this Commission is required to go into a) Sequence of events and b) Facts and Circumstances; The Commission is expected to arrive at its finding on independent appraisal of the material placed before it, in particular, the documents not placed before ,Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry. The Central Government Counsel also argued that the findings of an earlier Commission of Inquiry cannot be a binding precedent on the subsequent Commission instituted to answer wider terms of reference. No Commission of Inquiry is a Court whose' judgement or findings could said to be binding precedents like the judgements of the Superior Court or the higher Courts. Shri V.P. Singh, in answer to the question deposed on 26th. November, 1996, as under :�

(Page 9-10)

"Basically Hon'ble ,Justice Verma Commission was not properly assisted either by the Govt. or by the Congress and the evidence of lack of proper assistance is reflected by the fact that the note of I.B. dated 3.1.1990 was not presented which led the Verma Commission to come to the conclusion that assessment of threats to Shri Rajiv Gandhi's life was not made. Also the records regarding the meeting of 4.1.1990 of the Secretary (Security) and the meeting of 23.1.1990 and also the minutes of the Cabinet meeting of 30.1.1990 and also 1.2.1990 were not presented before the Verma Commission which led the Verma Commission to believe that V.C. Pande's note was the sole document resposible for all decisions. Also no 8-B notice was given to me or to Shri V.C.Pande. Otherwise, we could have pointed out all this lacuna and these errors would not have crept in and actually when the Govt. headed by Shri Narasimha Rao examined all the documents, it came to the conclusion in the A.T.R. that there were no lacunae in the security arrangement made for Shri Rajiv Gandhi by NF Govt. The other conceptual error that has crept in the Verma Commission report is that all the Central Govts. From Rajiv Gandhi to my Govt and to Chandra Shekhar's Govt have been clubbed into one entity while responsibilities arise differently. Instances of this clubbing may be seen in paras 7 and 8 on page 81 of the Report. Para 7 refers to Central Govt.'s responsibility during President's rule in Tamil Nadu. Similarly, para 11 also refers to the period of Shri Chandra Shekhar's Govt. Also Shri M.K. Narayanan's note of May 1991 also relates to Shri Chandra Shekhar's Govt. I also disagree because there seems to be some contradiction regarding the conclusions of contributory role of Congress.

On page 83, para 8 and para 9, mention has been made in the Verma Commission of

contribution of Congress Party in creating an environment of disorderliness and confusion conducive to flagrant breaches of security norms. This conclusion of Verma Commisssion stands at variance that Congress's conduct was not a contributory cause."

35.1 The contention advanced by the learned Central Government Counsel with regard to the scope and parameters of Inquiry of this Commission on the security aspect, especially with reference to the scope of Inquiry conducted by Justice J.S. Verma Commission of Inquiry, has been given an anxious consideration.

The terms of reference laid down for this Commission specifically exclude those assigned to the Justice Verma Commission. This Commission, clearly, has no jurisdiction, whatsoever, to go into the terms of reference exclusively assigned to the Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry. In view of this exclusion, this Commission does not have any authority, power or jurisdiction to record any contra findings on issues dealt with by the Justice Verma Commission while inquiring into its terms of reference. This Commission cannot touch the areas of exclusion and is only required to examine the security aspect as sequence of events leading to the assassination. It is true as submitted by Shri Datta that the Commission of Inquiry is not a court and the findings of earlier Commission of Inquiry may not be a binding precedent. But this Commission draws its power, authority and jurisdiction from its terms of reference wherein areas of the first Commission are expressly excluded. So the findings on those areas recorded by the earlier Commission cannot be changed, altered, modified or varied by this Commission.

35.1.1 Learned Central Government Counsel has also contended that several documents and records were not brought to the notice of Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry. It is so. Some very crucial documents, inter alia, pertaining to the Cabinet decisions as well as threat perceptions to the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi were, apparently not brought to the notice of the Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry by the concerned. This should have been done. The following documents on security aspect were brought to the notice of that

Commission :

i) Annexure XXI

Note of Shri A.K. Deb, Joint Secretary, Cabinet

Secretariat. Security arrangements for ex-Prime Minister.

ii) Annexure XXII

Record note of discussion held Cabinet Secretary on 4-12-89 at 12 noon regarding security arrangements for Prime Minister and ex-Prime Minister. Dt December 6, 1989, signed by Shri A.K. Deb.

iii) Annexure XXIII

Note of V.C. Pande dt. 30.1.90 marked to the Prime Minister re. security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

iv) Annexure XXIV Letter dt. February 3, 1990, of Shri P. Chidambaram to Shri G.S. Bajpai

v) Annexure XXV

Reply of Shri G.S. Bajpai to Shri P. Chidambaram

vi) Annexure XXVI Letter dt. 9th. February, 1990, of Shri P. Chidambaram to Shri G.S. Bajpai.

vii) Annexure XXVII

Letter dt. February 13, 1991 of Shri V.George to Lt. Governer, Delhi, re. Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

viii) Annexure XXVIII

Circular Memorandum of DIG, CID (Intelligence), Madras, dt. 4-2-91 re. Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

The following important documents / material which were not brought to the notice of Justice Verma Commissi.on and have come to the knowledge of this Commission: (Ex.No 376. Birbalnath Committee Report); 21.03.1985: Minutes of the meeting of Committee of Secretaries about PM security;

(30.03.1985 : Ann B (attached to Dy Secy, Security DO letter)

(Ex.No 376) Date: 14.05.1985.:- Security arrangements for PM security

SPG Training-comparison

PM Security set up File :- SPG (encl. to DO letter dt. 30.4.96)

The above documents bring out the process of evolution of a specialised proximate security system for the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi - the then Prime Minister. The files deal with the considerations which went into the setting up of Special Protection Group (SPG) in the wake of the assassination of late Prime Minister, Smt. Indira Gandhi. The Report of the Birbal Nath Committee which examined all the aspects of PM security and recommended the need for setting up of an exclusive force is an important input. 04.12.1989.:- Karnataka Citizens Forum letter to President reg. security arrangement for ex-PM 07.12.1989.:- Threat assessment concerning RG & family (File :-29/VS/89(1)/kw-p.3 of IB).

These documents indicate the extremely vulnerable position of Shri Rajiv Gandhi in view of the threat perception and public concern from various quarters for providing him adequate security 08.12.1989.:- letter of AK Deb to IB (File :-29/.VS/89tl)-p.17)

09.12.1989.:- Letter of KK Paul to AK Deb reg. sec. to RG (29/VS/89(1)-p.21-22IB

10.12.1989. :- Letter of SPG Director to AK Deb reg. sec. to RG (29/VS/89(1)-p.23-24 IB)

The above correspondence indicates that the SPG was capable and willing to provide security simultaneously to the incumbent PM Shri V.P. Singh and former PM Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

08.12.1989.: Seeking threat assessment reports wrt PM/ex-PM DO ltr. Dir. SPG (29/VS/89 (1) of IB p.15 )

12.12.1989. :- Threat assessment from SIB/MAS (File :-29/VS/89(1)/kw-p.30 IB)

Threat assessments from SIB/BOMBAY, JAIPUR AND AMRITSAR (File :

-29/VS/89 (1) /kw-p.30 IB) 23.12.1989. : - RAW U0 No. 4762 reg. threat to RG File :-29/VS/89tl) - p. 33

These reports point out the feedback from field units that threat to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi actually increased after he demitted charge as Prime Minister. (Ex.No495) 08.12.1989.:

(Ex.No 276):- 14.12.1989. Note of T N Seshan on security.

This detailed crucial note of the then Cabinet Secretary provided the background for the events which finally led to the Cabinet decision on Rajiv Gandhi's security. 18.12.1989. :- DO Letter of Addl. DIB to JS(S) (29/VS/89(1))

(Ex.No 382) 20.12.1989. Note of Shrl R.Vasudevan, Spl. Secy


26.12.1989 :- Security rules for RG-Note of KN Thakur;

(29/VS/89(1) note portion p.1,2,3)

(Ex.No 245&269(A)) 03.01.1990 :- Letter of Addl DIB to Secy MHA reg. security� These documents indicate the mind set of the intelligence and security officers and the considerations which went into devising the alternative security scheme for Rajiv Gandhi (Ex.No 268.) 03.01.1990.:- IB Threat perception on RG

03.01.1990.:- Draft security arrangement (Ex.No 246) 04.01.1990. Minutes of meeting held on 4.1.90 in the room of Secy(Sec)

(Ex.No 383.) 04.01.1990. Note of Bhure Lal

(Ex.No 384.) : 15.01.1990. :- Note of Bhure Lal reg. Nucleus Force

16.01.1990.:- Record note of discussions held by Secy(Sec.) ( Aff. 139/94 p. 73-177)

(Ex.No 31 &270& 514) 23.01.1990:- Note for Cabinet of Secy(Sec) for RG security

(Ex.No 274) 30.01.1990. :- Security arrangements for PM security-note of KR Venugopal

These documents indicate the various suggestions put forth including the proposal for constituting a special 'Nucleus Force' for the protection of Rajiv Gandhi, and the final note prepared on this subject by Secretary (Security) which was discussed by the Cabinet. The possibility of continuation of SPG is also seen to have been suggested to the PM in the note dt. 30th. Jan. l990 of Shri K.R. Venugopal.

35 1.1.8 (Ex.No 271) 23.01.199O :- Note of AK Deb, Sec. arrangements

25.01.1990 :- Note of Secy(sec) wrt RG security (Affidavit 239/94 p.39)

(Ex.No 275 & 32) 30.01.1990 :- Minutes of the Cabinet on 30.01.90

(Ex.No 272) 01.02.1990. :- Minutes of the meeting of Cabinet dt. 1.2.90

The two Exhibits - 272 and 275 are crucial documents pertaining to the actual Cabinet decisions taken and the minutes of the deliberations. These minutes provide an insight on the events of the period and what shaped the decision making by the Cabinet. (Ex.No CG 206) 03.02.1990.: Letter of VN Singh of Dli Police to IB

05.02.1990. Continuation of SPG to RG till 9.2.1990 (Affidavit no. 239/94 p 108 )

06.02.1990. :- Record note of discussions of Secy(S) (Aff. 239/94 p.189-192)

06.02.1990. :- Threat assessmnt of IB (29/VS/89(1))

6.2.90 : - Tripathi warns on Rajiv's Security News item

(Ex.No 279) 08.02.1990.:- Letter of PM to Kamlapati Tripathi

News items "Lone securityman in Rajiv's wake"; "Rajiv to get more security" ; "Cong(I) poser on Rajiv's security"; 'Rajiv's security budget to be Rs. 1 crore".

Letter of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee reg. RG Security, Press Information Bureau clippings dt. 13.2.90

13.02.1990. :- Note of discussions by secy(Sec) (Aff. no. 239/94 p.195-7)

Note of K.P. Jain, File no. 29 VS/89(1) P. 76) Letter of AICC legal cell to President

(Ex.No 280) 21.02.1990 :- letter of B.G. Deshmukh to AICC The above documents/ material deal with the widespread protests among the Congress (I) and sections of Public to the reduced security cover for Rajiv Gandhi and the reaction of the Government to them.� (Ex.No CG 205) 22.02.1990.:- Sec arrangements for RG Dli Police circular

(Ex.No 523) 25.02.1990 :- Security men ill trained - news item

(Ex. No 247) :- 28.02.1990. :- Minutes of meeting at house of RG

01.03.1990.:- Note of K.P. Jain IB (29 VS /89(1) p. 210) 01.03.1990. :- Note of IB threat 19.03.1990 :- Dissatisfaction of RG reg. security (29/VS/89(1)-p. 27-28)

The above documents indicate the concern of Congress party and of Shri Rajiv Gandhi towards the quality of his security. The official documents as well as the media reports are categorical about the fact that Shri Rajiv Gandhi was dissatisfied with the alternative security measures. Ex.No 379(7):- 25.0S.1990.:- Letter of Mufti Mohd. to RG (Ex.No 379(6)) 05.09.1990.:- Letter of Mufti Mohd. to RG (Ex.No 37912)) 11.12.1990.:- Lettor of MOS home, Subodh Kant Sahay to RG (Ex.No 379(1)) 04.01.31 :- Chandrshekhar PM letter to RG (Ex.No 589) 09.02.1991.:- Letter of PM Chandrashekhar to RG (Ex.No 590) 13.02.1991.:- Letter of RG to PM These correspondences indicate that the successive Home Ministers and the Prime Minister Shri Chandrashekhar kept writing to Rajiv Gandhi about precautionary measures without doing anything concrete about his security. (Ex,No 278.) 29.12.1990.:- RG.retention of 10, Janpath - IB note

21.03.1991.:- Election tours of PM etc.- IB circular(35/VS/91(2) of IB. P. 111 )

(04.04.1991:- IB UO on security arrangment (Aff. No. 292/iS App. 78)

(Ex.No CGW 182) 11.04.1991. Threat from Babbar Khalsa UK to RG

29.04.1991 :- Lettor of BSAC permitting PSOs to a carry arms in flight (IB Compilation p. 169 Vol II) (Ex.No 393)

15.05.1991 :- Security arrangement for PM - IB circular

These documents relate to the threats received and the security arrangements made during the crucial pre-election period when hectic political campaigning had begun and National leaders including Shri Rajiv Gandhi had started touring various parts of the country.

35.2 An examination of the contents and purport of these documents/ material goes to further reinforce the findings of Justice Verma Commission of Inquiry. None of the documents point out anything contrary to what was concluded by Justice Verma Commission. It appears that if the concerned agencies etc. had brought these crucial documents to the notice of Justice Verma Commission, the findings would have only been strengthened.



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