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Jain Commission Interim Report

Threats to Rajiv Gandhi and his Security
Chapter II

Sections 20 to 26

20. Considerations which shaped various decisions relating to the security arrangements for Rajiv Gandhi | 21. Could SPG Cover have been extended by an Executive Order? | 22. Threat Scenario | 23. Study of Security System and machinery in States | 24. `SPG a Myth' and Rajiv's security | 25. Collective Responsibility | 26. Authority & Responsibility

Considerations Which Shaped the Various Decisions Relating to the Security Arrangement of Shri Rajiv Gandhi

36 Decisions taken by the Central Government with regard to the security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi after he ceased to be the Prime Minister of India, from December 1989 onwards and till his assassination, are mired in controversy. The motives for the decisions, particularly that of non providing of SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, have been questioned by several sections notably the All India Congress Committee (I). It becomes necessary for this Commission to deal with the questions arising out of these decisions in order to set at rest all the doubts arising in the minds of public regarding the sequence of events pertaining to this aspect.

37 A most important aspect which has been agitated before the Commission by the Congress is that the whole action of withdrawal of SPG protection from Rajiv Gandhi was malicious, biased and motivated. The intentions right from the very beginning were to make Shri Rajiv Gandhi vulnerable and it has been urged that this question may be examined in the totality of circumstances which have come on record.

38 The various questions raised during the debate on the security cover provided to Rajiv Gandhi during the time he ceased to be the Prime Minister and till the time he was assassinated can be broadly categorised as follows :


Shri.V.P.Singh, after being elected leader of the Janata Dal, took over as the PrIme Minister on 2.12.1989 with the support of the Bharatiya Janata Party. A question at once arose as to how security arrangements for Shri. Rajiv Gandhi are to be made and what security should be provided to him after demitting of office by him.�

The first step in this direction was 4.12.89. and a note was prepared by Shri T.N.Seshan, Cabinet Secretary. The same level of protection, that is, SPG protective cover was provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi under verbal instructions from the Prime Minister. This meeting was chaired by the Cabinet Secretary in the President's house which was attended by the representatives of the IB, R&AW,SPG, and the Ministry of Home Affairs.�

Evidence indicates that the SPG continued to provide protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi upto 9th February, 1990 on the basis of an executive order given by Shri V.P. Singh. On this decison, Shri V.P. Singh, during his deposition before the Commission on 24th. October, 1996, stated as follows :

(Page No.7-8)

"It (SPG protection) does cease immediately under law. Physically the SPG was there by an Executive Order, but they had no legal cover for his protection....I took that risk at my personal level in giving that cover even against law.....

( 26.11.1996, P .5)

"...I extended SPG personnel to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.... my extension of SPG personnel of Shri Rajiv Gandhi was not so much on my wnderstanding of threat perception which is the area of the experts but on the basis of political sagacity and personnel concern of the safety of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, I gave those orders that unless every aspect of his security is not considered, SPG personnel shall continue.

During his deposition before the Commission, Shri V.P. Singh continued to insist that he had not 'Withdrawn' the SPG protection from Rajiv Gandhi; the SPG protection had automatically ceased and was substituted by an alternative system. It may be observed here that the language used is immaterial and the argument of Shri V.P. Singh that , in this context, terming the 'Withdrawal' as 'Substitution', would make any material difference to the effect of the action, is absolutely unfoundedo

38.2 The matter of considering every aspect of security to be provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi continued to be processed till 30.01.90 when the Cabinet ultimately approved the scheme of security to be provided to Shri.Rajiv Gandhi,propared by the IB. How the matter was processed at different levels requires examination and it is to be seen what matters went into consideration upto the stage of the Cabinet decision at different levels and whether the consideration of the whole matter relating to Rajiv 's security was given due attention keeping in view a very high threat which he was facing during his premiership and which he continued to face even after demitting office.

38.3 During the processing of the matter during the period, an important determinant which has emerged is the projection of LEGAL AND OPERATIONAL DIFFICULTIES in continuance of SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.38.3.1 It emerges from the records, the legal bar to the use of SPG was first pointed out by Shri R Vasudevan in his note dated 20th December, 1989. In all the meetings held on the subject till. then, this aspect was never discussed. It is seen that Shri R.Vasudevan took it upon himself to advise that Secretary (Security), SPG and the Cabinet 5ecretariat should not have any role to play in the security arrangements for Shri Rativ Gandhi and the matter should be dealt with by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Continuance of SPG for the protection of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, Shri Vasudevan states, appears to be in contravention of the Law. In fact, the legal protection available to the members of SPG under Section 15 of the Act cannot be extended to the performance of their duties with former PM. This situation is obviously fraught with complications unless either the law is amended, extending its scope to the former PM and his immediate family or the responsibility is clearly entrusted to the State/UT Police with the further dispensation that the trained SPG personnel could be taken on deputation by the State/UT administration for such purposes.

38.3.2 In the subeequent paras of the same note, Shri Vasudevan has categorically stated that SPG can have no direct role whatsoever with reference to the security of the former Prime Minister. This being the position Secretary ( Security) should have no responsibility for the security of the former PM. Here, it may be pointed out that it was only the SPG which was covered by the legal bar, Shri Vasudevan has gone one step ahead and also recommended that Secretary (Security) should also have nothing to do with the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

38.3.4 Shri B.G. Deshmukh has agreed with Shri Vasudevan as seen in the same note. On the basis of the recommendations given by Shri Vasudevan, Shri B.G. Deshmukh has given a categorical recommendation that it was not 'advisable' to amend the SPG Act. What were the considerations which made amendment of SPG Act inadvisable have neither been dealt in this note, nor anywhere else. As per Shri V.P. Singh, this advice was endorsed by the Cabinet in their final decision which led to the withdrawal of SPG protection from Shri Rajiv Gandhi.

On this aspect, during his deposition, Shri V.P. Singh has repeatedly stressed that he merely followed the advice of the concerned bureaucrats and security experts:-

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 4.11.1996 (Page No.3-8).1m 15

"...... The very fact Shri Deshmukh has specifically said that SPG Act should not be amended, there has been application of mind regarding amendment of SPG Act. Shri Venugopal also in his note made on this point and also Shri T.N.Seshan, though I do not remember the meeting, around 10.12.1989 he said that he had put the proposal of amending the SPG Act to Shri M.K.Narayanan, DIB and Mr Deshmukh who opposed the proposal.

Shri V.P. Singh, during his deposition, has also taken the plea that the SPG, without the legal cover was in a vulnerable position while protecting Shri Rajiv Gandhi, and, in the discharge of their duties, if they took any action, they did not have the protection of law and could have been treated as ordinary criminals. Shri D.D. Thakur, learned counsel for Shri V.P. Singh, during arguments, emphasised on this aspect and argued that extension of SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was untenable due to this reason.

Let us examine what special protection the SPG personnel get by the virtue of the SPG Act. As per Section 4(1) of the SPG Act, they get the status of an Armed Force of the Union; vide section 15 of the SPG Act, it is laid down that "No suit, prosecution or other legal proceeding shall lie against the Group or any member thereof on whom powers have been conferred or duties have been imposed under this Act for anything which is in good faith or done or purported to be done or omitted to be done in pursuance of this Act...."

38.3.5 The immunity available to SPG personnel under the Act may not be available when such protection is afforded to one who is not entitled to such protection under the Act. But the question is if any such Central Force is created for providing proximate security to a highly threatened high dignitary, under the cover of ordinary law, such protection could be afforded. An ordinary citizen has a right in law to engage such services for his own safety. Such services can be provided to a dignitary at the Government level.

38.3.6 By the time this note of 20 12.89 was written, a categorical threat perception with regard to the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi had been given by R&AW on December 9, 1989, in which it had been clearly indicated that threats to his life remained undiminished despite his having demitted office of the Prime Minister. This most crucial factor appears to have been ignored by both the bureaucrats, namely Shri R. Vasudevan as well as Shri B.G. Deshmukh while formulating a Policy for his security.

38.3.7 Unfortunately, an 'advice' given by bureaucrats, on the basis of unstated and unknown considerations was considered and accepted by the Cabinet - final body of decision makers.

It appears that the extension of SPG Act or continuation of SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was not in contemplation from the very beginning Shri G.S. Bajpai, the then Secretary (Security) during his deposition before the Commission on 4th June, 1997, stated that

(Page 4)

"Whenever, Shri Rajiv Gandhi's security was raised by anybody in the Cabinet or PMO, the view generally was that the SPG was meant only for the P.M. and some other alternative security are to be made for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Amendment of SPG Act was not expressed by anyone. Whenever the subject was raised with Shri V.P. Singh regarding Rajivji's security, he expressed that adequate security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi should be provided. His view was for any alternate adequate security arrangements to be made for Rajivji."

38.3.8 What weighed at all levels is that under the law, SPG is meant for the Prime minister and SPG, in the absence of amendment in the law, cannot be provide, to ex- Prime Ministers, and even the SPG was facing operational difficulties on account of the present strength of the SPG personnel. That strength, if divided, would not meet the requirements of security to the Prime Minister. The matter was viewed in the light that when the other dignitaries who were facing threats, were given protection and for their protection, States were made responsible and that is the position in the Constitution as well, so what weighed with the authorities at various levels is that the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi should also be handed over to the States and the administrations of the Union Territories.

If regard would have been had to the threat scenario of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, they would have certainly have come to the conclusion that he continued to face the highest threat which no other dignitary was facing and the question of his security should have been considered in the light of the degree of threat which he was facing.

When such were the threat scenario of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the authorities at the various levels should have gone into the question that let there be amendment of the SPG Act or let there be creation of some Central force by any name, say, Special Protection Force or Central Protection Force, to provide security cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi comparable to the SPG. Some such suggestions have been given by some bureaucrats such as the suggestion given by Shri Bhure Lal, the then Joint Secretary in the PMO to contemplate raising a 'Nucleus Force' or by Shri. K.R. Venugopal, Special Secretary, regarding raising a Special Force for the protection of Rajiv Gandhi.

But it appears due weight was not attached to them and they were not discussed at different levels. If raising of Central Force is illegal and unconstitutional, then in this situation, amendment of SPG Act was the only course. Some such system should have been devised whereby Centre could have provided adequate and effective security comparable to SPG, with exclusive responsibility for proximate security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi exercising full control over the same and not leaving it to the States.

It should have gone into consideration, will Rajiv Gandhi be secure in the absence of specialised protective cover meant exclusively for proximate security having motivation, training etc. even in the absence of Advance Security Liaison and power of veto and immunity the protection hitherto he was getting. Looking into the high threats which will continue to increase rather than diminish, only such cover of proximate security would save him, call it by any name. Nature of protective cover should be such.

Could SPG Cover be Extended by an Executive Order?

39 A question has arisen as whether SPG. cover could have been extended by an Executive Order.

The S.P.G. Act was applicable only to the Prime Minister in office and his family prior to its amendment. The Preamble and the Statement of Objects and Reasons clearly State so. Parliamentary debate Ex.445 can further be pressed into service as an external aid to find out the necessary intent of the legislation. The debates conclusively make out that the law is meant solely for the incumbent Prime Minister and his family. The legal maxim 'Expressio unius ext exlusio alterius' 'Express mention of one thing implies exclusion of another' will equally come into play and shall be applicable. Thus the legal cover of the S.P.G. Act can only be extended by amendment of the S.P.G. Act. By an Executive Order, such legal cover cannot be extended. However, whatever protective cover is provided under an Executive Order, no privileges and immunities can be claimed by the personnel providing protective cover and they would be dealt with under the ordinary law of the land.

39.1Some constitutional questions have also been raised before me. It is submitted by Shri D.D. Thakur, Learned Counsel for Shri V.P.Singh, that even the S.P.G. Act is unconstitutional as Public order is a State subject covered under Entry 1, List II of the State List, Schedule VII and for protection of the Prime Minister only States can legislate and not the Centre. It is signi ficant to note that an armed force has been created for which States cannot legislate. The relevant Entries in the Union and State Lists are:


1. Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conclusive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective demobilisation.�

2. Naval, military and air forces; any other armed forces of the Union.�

2A. Deployment of any armed force of the Union or any other force subject to the control of the Union or any contingent or unit thereof in any state in aid of the civil power; powers, jurisdiction, privileges and liabilities of the members of such forces, while on such deployment.�


1. Public order ( but not including the use of any naval, military or air force or any other armed force of the Union or ok any other force subject to the control of the Union or any contingent or unit thereof) in aid of the civil power.� 2. Police (including railway and village police) subject to the provision of Entry 2A of List I)."�

39.2 If any other protective force is created or established, it is for the authority to see whether it is in its competence and authority. Executive authority of the States and the Union extends to their legislative fields. I need not dwell into all these questions. My inquiry is confined to the question as to whether the alternative security arrangements made for giving protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi were adequate having regard to the serious and grave threats he continued to face despite demitting office by him.�


40 While in the first aspect, i.e. legal difficulties in providing SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the issue of 'advisability' appears paramount, we find that while dealing with the second aspect, i.e. operational difficulties experienced by the SPG in having to provide protection simultaneously to the new Prime Minister as well as Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the issue of 'practicability' dominates. What has been put forward is that, in view of operational difficulties, it was not practicable to continue with SPG protection for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. It appears that the Director, SPG, had expressed this difficulty at the first opportunity as early as December 4, l989. The thrust of the difficulty was paucity of manpower with the SPG. All witnesses, who deposed before the Commission had pleaded that it was the non-availablility of manpower which made SPG operationally unviable to simultaneously protect Shri V. P. Singh as well as Shri Rajiv Gandhi. Depositions of the witnesses Shri R. Vasudevan (PMO), V.G Vaidya and K.N. Thakur (both of IB) extracts of which are reproduced below, seem to confirm this:

Deposition of Shri V.G. Vaidya dt. 17.12.96

I was present in the meeting dated 04.12.1989 .... In that meeting .... the Director, SPG pleaded that SPG was meant for and had the work force enough for the protection of the Prime Minister only.

Deposition of Shri.R.N.Thakur formerly Joint Director, Intelligence Bureau.,dt. 25.04.96.(Page 1) :

"....in the meeting in the Cabinet Sectt. on 4.12.89... Director (SPG) said that the existing force strength was for guarding incumbent Prime Minister. To provide the same level of deployment both for the incumbent PM and the former PM was creating problems of man power."

Deposition of Shri R. Vasudevan dt. 16th April 996 :- (Page No.3) :

Director (SPG) expressed difficulties in continuance of SPG cover to Rajiv Gandhi. The difficulty expressed was regarding adequacy of the force..."

40.1 Interestingly, however, the view of Director SPG, who went on record as is seen from the correspondence (Annexure S-8 no. 16 & 22), appears that his organisation (SPG) was capable and willing to provide security simultaneously to both the incumbent Prime Minister as well as the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi. He appeared confident of surmounting the operational difficulties as and when they arose. This operational and functional difficulty, therefore, cannot be taken as a pretext to withdraw SPG protection from Shri Rajiv Gandhi. What emerged from available evidence is that Director SPG was merely appraising the competent authorities of a genuine operational difficulty which could have been easily overcome.

40.1.1 In this context, it is seen that a misleading fact appears to have been given credence and relied upon. Shri Bhure Lal, in his note dated 16th. January, 1990, (Annexure S-33, Ex. 384) referring to the observations of Secretary (Security) in a meeting, has stated that "He emphasised that the scanty resources of SPG are in great strain because of security arrangements of the former PM as well as the present PM. He also said that there was some resentment brewing up in the force which is not a desirable development.

It is seen that this note of Bhure Lal was put up to Shri B.G. Deshmukh and was neither marked nor seen by Secretary (Security). When confronted with this note, Shri G.S. Bajapai, Secretary (S), while deposing before the Commission on 4th. June, 1990, stated that he did not recollect making any such observations.

40.1.2 During oral evidence, arguments have been put forward by the bureaucrats as well as the security experts that if SPG was to be strengthened to cater to the security requirements of both the Prime Minister and the former Prime Minister, it would have been a time consuming process which would not have taken less than a year to fructify.

40.1.3 By putting forward this line of argument, the security experts and bureaucrats have inadvertantly admitted that in terms of training and technical excellence, SPG was a superior system than any other system-an argument which they are not willing to admit otherwise.

Depositions of the relevant witnesses who have spoken about the the legal and operational difficulties in extending SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi are excerpted below :

Deposition of 8hri V.G. Vaidya dt. 17.12.96

"... Augmenting the strength of SPG is a timeconsuming process. The process of securing personnel on deputation is time consuming Normally, it should take 12 months. The training period is about six months."

Deposition of Shri S.N Thakur dt. 25.04.96 "...enlisting and putting to training new entrants to SPG could have taken about eight months".

40.1.4 Looking at actual data pertaining to the expansion of the SPG, this myth of inability to augment the SPG in terms of manpower is exploded.

40.1.5 Soon after the assassination of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the SPG Act was amended and SPG protection was extended to all former Prime Ministers and their immediate families. In October, 1991, additional posts were sanctioned in the SPG to shoulder additional responsibilities cast upon the organisation as a result of the amendment of the SPG Act. The sanction was provided vide order no. A-50011/27/91 - EA II of Cabinet Secretariat dt. 12.10.91 for creation of 1595 additional posts. (Vide letter of Dy. Secretary (Security) vide DO letter No. 10/27/94-SS/TS(Vol II) dt. 30 April 1996 to Central Govt. Counsel)

The following increase in the strength of SPG took place after the amendment of the SPG Act:

i) Strength of SPG as on 30.6.91 896

(Before the amendment)

(Posts sanctioned in October, 1991)

ii)Strength of SPG as on 31.12.91 1105

iii)Strength of SPG as on 30.6.92 1324

iv)Strength of SPG as on 31.12.92 1505

v)Strength of SPG as on 31.12.93 1847

vi)Strength of SPG as on 31.12.94 1976

vii)Strength of SPG as on 31.12.95 2148

viii) Strength of SPG as on 31.12.96 3212

(Annexure IV, letter no. 20/VS/91(3)-63 dt. 3.3.97 of Director SPG to JCI)

With this augmented strength, the SPG immediately took over the assignment of providing protection not only to one former Prime Minister, but several former Prime Ministers and their families.

The figures are self explanatory and go to show that it was both possible and practicable to augment the SPG strength to cater to the security requirements of the Prime Minister as well as the former Prime Minister Shri Rajiv Gandhi.


40.2 Circumstances preceding the Cabinet meeting of 30th. January, 1990, relating to the entire matter of Security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi appear to be strange and are required to be examined in details.

40.2.1 It appears that in the light of the prevailing political climate and the anti-Rajiv Gandhi mood of the newly elected MPs and Ministers, Shri V.P. Singh had decided that he should not, on his own, take any decision regarding the providing of alternative security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi in place of SPG and transferred the responsibility to the Cabinet. Evidence available to the Commission indicates that Shri V.P. Singh did not disclose his own mind on the subject giving an impression that he did not have any view of his own on the subject and, when confronted with the eventuality of taking a firm decision, he 'reserved his opinion' and suggested that the matter be brought before the Cabinet. During his deposition before the Commission, Shri V.P. Singh took this plea and stated :

Deposition of Sh. V.P. Singh dt. 30.10.96

"...representatives of M.H.A., P.M.O., I.B.,RAW, Delhi Police and SPG unanimously felt that the responsibility of providing protection to Shri Gandhi should be vested in the State Government/ U.T.Admn. The Cabinet in its wisdom thought to go with the unanimous decision of the security experts."

Shri V.P. Singh does not recall the meeting held on or around 10th. December, 1989, in his room which has been spoken by T.N. Seshan as well as B.G. Deshmukh. In that meeting, he should have expressed his opinion. It appears that it was the proposal brought by Shri V.C. Pande, in an informal meeting, which was finally okayed by the Cabinet. B.G. Deshmukh has deposed to this effect when he says that the note of Shri V.C. Pande was approved and seen by the Prime Minister. He did not raise any objection, the Prime Minister approved it and so it was carried through.

40.2.2 It is seen that the note prepared for the Cabinet does not appear to suggest a dynamic discussion for the Cabinet, but merely suggests approval of the proposals already formulated and shown to the Prime Minister. The fact that no detailed minutes of the Cabinet meeting were prepared, and from the depositions of the participants in the Cabinet meeting of 30th January, 1990, it emerges that no meaningful debate on the subject took place.

40.2.3 It has also been alleged that the concerned experts in the field were deliberately not consulted when the matter pertaining to Rajiv Gandhi's security was being processed. during his deposition before the Commission, Shri Mani Shankar Aiyer alleged as follows:

Deposition of Shri Mani Shankar Aiyar, dt. 5.12.1996 (page 8 -10 ):

"The three persons who should have explained about the importance of advance liaison were deliberately kept out of the picture by all Agencies of the Govt and the Govt itself, namely, Shri T.N. Seshan, ....and M.K. Narayanan the third person Shri P. Chidambaram. ... the Cabinet did not even consider any proposal for SPG equivalent protection to Shri Gandhi anywhere outside Delhi."

An intriguing aspect of this entire sequence is what prompted the security experts and the bureaucrats to take this line from the very beginning? Was this a pre-determined line dictated to them from the top? Before the Commission Shri V.P. Singh has vehemently denied this suggestion; however, from the strange circumstances under which this whole matter has been dealt with, there does not appear any doubt.

40.2.5 The intentions of the concerned are reflected in the note dated 5.12.89 of Shri A.K. Deb which minutes the meeting held on 4.12.89, Shri K.N. Thakur is recorded to have stated that the 'threat perception in respect of the ex-Prime Minister has changed, since he is no longer the Head of the Government...'. It is further seen that in the informal meeting held in the room of the Prime Minister in the first week of January, 1990, it was the proposal of Shri V.C. Pande which was discussed and approved by Shri V.P. Singh to be put up before the Cabinet.

Another indicator of the intentions is the letter of Shri V.G. Vaidya to Shri A.K. Deb, Joint Secretary (S), dt. 18.12.89, in which he has commented that the responsibility for security of Rajiv Gandhi was now vested with the State Govts/ UTs concerned and advance security liaison was no longer required; he also suggested that the composition of his carcade be reduced and that SPG need not be deputed during his tours outside Delhi.

It is also seen that on December 20th. 1989, Shri B.G. Deshmukh approved the proposal of Shri R. Vasudevan that the responsibility of security for Rajiv Gandhi should be discharged by the Ministry of Home Affairs and put it up to Shri V.P. Singh. Shri V.P. Singh appears to have agreed with this view when he noted that the matter be put up before the Cabinet. It appears that as early as on 3rd. January, 1990, on its own, the I.B. prepared a draft security scheme for Shri Rajiv Gandhi (Ex. 269) and sent it to the Home Secretary. The draft scheme, inter-alia, stated that the responsibility for the protection of the former Prime Minister vests with the State Police who make adequate arrangements as per the guidelines issued by the Home Ministry and the prevailing threat perceptions.

40.2.6 The intentions are also reflected in the manner in which the entire matter was processed after Secretary (S) Shri G.S. Bajapai assumed charge of the post on 1st. January, 1990. It appears that he was kept in dark regarding the threat perceptions to the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi as well as the draft security scheme prepared for Shri Rajiv Gandhi and the implied approval of the proposal of Shri V.C. Pande by Shri V.P. Singh, Prime Minister.

Although Shri V.P. Singh directed that the matter be put up before the Cabinet, there exists no room for doubt that continuance of SPG protection to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was out of question. No thought was given for extending SPG protection to Rajiv Gandhi, even if the need for its continuance existed. The Intelligence Bureau, acting contrary to what was required on its part from the Cabinet Secretary, i.e. to simply make available the threat perception reports, instead, undertook the exercise, on its own, of preparing a draft scheme for providing alternative security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.Thus it appears that the view of the political leadership percolated in the services. It could not be unknown to the bureaucrats and the security experts that the political leadership is opposed to continuance of SPG protection to Shri Raiiv Gandhi.

41. If all the steps are taken into consideration cumulatively along with the fact that the question of his security was not given due attention in respect of the capability availablein the States and in respect of the threat scenario of Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the consideration thus was not an honest one. In the light of the note of Shri Janardhan Poojary (Ex. 202) and the deposition of Shri G.S. Baipail Secretary (S), it appears that no thinking was given at any level regarding the necessity of amendment of SPG Act. Sensing the political mood of their political masters, the Intelligence Agencies prepared and the concerned bureaucrats propagated the alternative security scheme for the protection of Shri Rajiv Gandhi. From all these circumstances, would it appear that Shri.V.P.Singh was biased and his decision was malafide and not an honest one?

41.1 The possible options open before the government at that time, which could have been considered, were as well:-

i) Amend the SPG Act to extend it to Shri Rajiv Gandhi;

ii) Raise a Special Task Force exclusively for the security of Shri Rajiv Gandhi on the lines of SPG;

41.2 It is seen that while devising an alternative security scheme for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, the most vital details pertaining to threat perception, quality and quantity of security were overlooked. It can also be seen that the alternative security scheme, as it was implemented, was neither up to the mark in terms of numbers, nor in quality of manpower or by way of system as an exclusive unit for providing proximate security which may have an inbuilt safety mechanism for implementation.

Had the States/Union Territories possessed exclusive proximate security Forces, the option of handing over the security of Rajiv Gandhi to them could have been a possible and feasible option. This was not so.

41.3 The various viable possibilities which could have been put into implementation have been narrated by some witnesses examined by the Commission. Given below are relevant excerpts of their depositions :-

Deposition of Shri P.V. Narsimha Rao, former Prime Minister dt. 2nd. May, 1997

(Page 4)

'The SPG could have continued by bringing out an Ordinance. If Partiament was not sitting, by Ordinance, otherwise, by amending the Law....... It was the duty of the Government to go into this and to err on the side of more security than less."

Deposition of Shri P. Chidambaram dated 23rd December, 1996

"....It was possible to provide equivalent protection of SPG to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after he demitted the office of Prime Minister, by an Executive Order, without the status of an Armed Force. If the President is satisfied, an ordinance to amend the SPG Act could even be issued."

"Deposition of Shri T.N. Seshan, dated 21.3.95 (Page-12)

"....I suggested, SPG cover should continue to the former Prime Minister and to his immediate family according to threat perception. For that, I suggested amendment to the SPG Act. In that meeting...Shri B.G. Deshmukh and Director IB M.K.Narayanan were present. The Director (IB) was opposed to continuation of SPG cover to the former P.M. and Mr.Deshmukh was also of that view. It was all oral and no minutes were recorded. The P.M. did not express his view, and he simply reserved his decision...."

Statement of Shri V.C. Pande

"My view is that if you want to give SPG to Shri Rajiv Gandhl, SPG Act has to be amended, it could not be given to Shri Rajiv Gandhi under executive power. SPG personnel of course could be provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi.... People trained in SPG could be transferred outside SPG force and in this manner these persons could be provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi for his security while touring outside Delhi."

Deposition CW/39 of Shri Shyamal Datta dt. 28th January, 1997

"..the Government can issue such an order withdrawing trained SPG personnel to provide proximate security and protection to any person other than named in the Act. By executive order, any other security force can be created at par with SPG without any sanctity of law and in power in the nature of what is contained in paragraph 14(c) of the M.H.A. circular dated 14.5.1985."

Deposition of Shri V.P. Singh dt. 30.10.96 (Page No.3)

"No one could suggest that the Act could not be amended. Even the Constitution could be amended. It was a matter of practicability and not of advisability."

Deposition of Shri S.B.CHAVAN dt. 15.01.1997

"...the requirement was better than SPG cover at that time. SPG could have been provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after demitting office by an Executive order or a better cover equivalent to SPG could have been provided."

Deposition of P. Chidambaram dt. 21.51.1996 (Page No.1-2)

"My demand to the Govt. after demitting office by Shri Rajiv Gandhi was to provide effective alternative security and extension of SPG was not in my contemplation....Govt. of Shri V.P.Singh did not provide effective alternative security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi .."

Threat Scenario

41.4 This well known principle of security was in the knowledge of all concerned that security has to be linked with the threat which the protectee is facing and Shri V.P.Singh is also very clear in his mind that security has to be adjusted ln accordance with the place and circumstances meaning thereby that threat at a particular place may be very high than in other situations. So, regard has to be made as to what degree of threat the protectee would face in different situations. Security has to be provided having regard to the threat which may be there at a given time, place and situation. Whether this principle has been kept in consideration and in mind at different levels. If the consideration of Rajiv's security in this regard is laconic and if the said principle has not been kept in mind, then the security provided would not be considered to be adequate.

41.4.1 Now, the first question that would arise is whether after demitting office the threat to the life of Shri Rajiv Gandhi diminished. The Government record, that is , the assessment of threat made by IB and R&AW and the description of that threat in the various notes at the bureaucratic levels and even in the note prepared for the Cabinet for consideration of security arrangements for Shri Rajiv Gandhi amply denote that even after demitting office, Shri Rajiv Gandhi continued to face very high level or high degree of threat.

It is true that he demitted the office but simultaneously this cannot be lost sight of that on account of demition of office, his level of security which he was having in the form of SPG protective cover, that will also cease, meaning thereby, if the same level of protection is not given than he would be rendered more vulnerable and if the security which may be provided to him is not of the same level, he would be a soft and easy target.

These considerations cannot be lost sight of as to why SPG was thought of to be created and established in the year 1985 and even before that he was facing threat during the life time of Smt.Indira Gandhi, his mother. He being the son of Smt. Indira Gandhi was facing threat on account of the hard decisions taken by Smt. Indira Gandhi like the "Operation Blue Star". The threat perception will have therefore to be judged in the background which necessitated the formation of the SPG. Operation Bluestar led to the assassination of Smt. Indira Gandhi and that further led to mass riots.

There was determination and pledges and vows to completely annihilate the family of Smt. Indira Gandhi. Shri V.P.Singh was well aware of Shri. Rajiv Gandhi's threat scenario. He was very much member of the Rajiv Gandhi Government and it was during his tenure as member of the Council of Ministers holding important portfolios that he had seen what protective cover has been provided to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi for his security. The potential threats from various militants groups throughout the country, including the LTTE, remained highest despite his demitting office.

It was Shri Rajiv Gandhi who had sent the I.P.K.F. to Sri Lanka for restoring peace but he had to take the decision and a hard decision to battle with the LTTE when there was disagreement on their part deviating from the principles which formed the bedrock of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord. The LTTE was holding Shri Rajiv Gandhi personally responsible for whatever happened in the areas predominantly occupied by Tamil population.

The question therefore arises whether in such a threat scenario any other security could at all be adequate than the SPG cover or any cover upto the level of SPG. Was it ever thought of at any level of the Government, at the level of I.B., M.H.A., Cabinet Secretariat or the P.M.O level or even at the level of the Council of Ministers. After examination of the record which has been placed before the Commission, it appears that the question of Rajiv's security was not at all considered in its true and correct perspective.

During the process of preparation of alternative security scheme for Shri Rajiv Gandhi, these officers, unfortunately followed several flawed and fallacious notions, the most important being that threat perception to Shri Rajiv Gandhi had come down since he was no longer holding the post of the Prime Minister of India. It is surprising that such an idea was floated and accepted especially in view of the available threat perceptions which indicated exactly the opposite.

If the perception was that the threat is not diminished--as no diminution of threat is recorded in the minutes of security meeting of 4th. January, 1990 or in the Note for the Cabinet or in the R&AW report or even in the I.B. reports--then that threat to Rajiv Gandhi could be met only by the security cover of SPG or any cover of the same level by way of a system responsible for providing proximate cover

41.4.2 At all the three levels i.e. Security agencies, Bureaucrats and the Cabinet, it was not thought whether Rajiv Gandhi is secured in the hands of the States / UTs concerned without a specialist body for proximate security. Certain vital factors were totally overlooked while making such a decision. The grave nature of LTTE threats was not properly calibrated and it was not appreciated that no one except Rajiv Gandhi faced such threat at that time and , as ex-Prime Minister had become an easy and soft target--more vulnerable to attacks from such determined and deadly elements. LTTE had already spread its network.

The Tamil population and the State Government of Tamil Nadu was sympathetic which was reflected in the entire State Administration including the Police machinery. In June, 1990, Padmanabha had been assassinated in Madras by the LTTE and the killers had made good their escape from Tamil Nadu coast to Jaffna. If the alternative security scheme was perfect it could have been applied to all Ex-Prime Ministers instead of amendment of the SPG Act. The alternative system of security for protection of Rajiv Gandhi was obviously not sound and adequate.

Study of Security System and Machinery in States

41.4.3 The record of the Government also does not speak that any study at any level was at all made or at any level it was seen as to whether in any State in India, is there any security unit with the State Police comparable to SPG. It also appears that no study of the actual operation of the alternative security scheme was ever made.

It should have been studied as to whether the State Police force is given any specialised training, whether it undergoes any motivation course, whether it is fully equipped with modern sophisticated weaponary, whether it is trained in preparedness and whether that unit is duly sensitised having regard to tho degree of threat which the protectee is facing. If no such study has been made, then it would show that the issue of Rajiv Gandhi's security was not considered in correct perspective and proper light. To me it appears that no thought was given that Rajiv Gandhi's security if allowed in the hands of the states, he would be insecure for want of specialised trained body with sole responsibility of proximate security.

During the election days particularly, the visits would be more frequent and even in interior areas and countryside. hectic tours would be undertaken and several public meetings would be held in a day. Would such a specialised proximate security system be available to him at all the places on the same day? This did not go into consideration. The Director, SPG is on record when he has deposed before the Commission that nowhere in India any State Police is at all comparable to SPG protective cover in all its various aspects of updating knowledge, drill exercise, firing practice and all other types of training. As stated above, the nature of militant organisations would equally be an important factor to be taken notice of Militancy and terrorism have been adopting latest devices.

LTTE is known to be the deadliest organisation with cyanide culture. A threat from such an organisation could very well be imagined as it is having suicide squads. No one faced any threat including the Prime Minister or the President from such a deadliest organisation.

Thus Rajiv Gandhi was the most highly threatened person in the country and became more insecure after demitting office in comparison to even the incumbent Prime Minister and the President. The sources of his threats were many and deadliest. If the alternative security scheme provided to Shri Rajiv Gandhi was thought adequate for such a highly threatened person, then why in 1985 SPG was at all created. There was no need of SPG. Such a security scheme could have been devised even at that time. But the Government thought that Shri Rajiv Gandhi would not be safe if left to the States. So a Central Force was created for his protection.

Operational difficulty in continuance of SPG is no argument as it would appear that in September, 1991 when the SPG Act was amended, immediately not one but many ex-Prime Ministers were provided SPG. The Strength of SPG could have been increased and amendment could have been brought about so as to provide SPG cover to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. No political will was there, rather it appears that security other than SPG was thought of by I.B. from the very beginning.

It cannot be outrightly said in view of the letter dated 10.12.1989 from Director, SPG addressed to Shri A.K. Deb, Joint Secretary (Security), with copies to Shri K.N.Thakur, Joint Director, I.B., and Shri K.K.Paul, Additional Commissioner of Police (S&T), that the SPG was not in a position to meet the requirements of the security of the Prime Minister and the ex-Prime Ministers simultaneously, and he wrote that in case SPG is ordered to continue to provide security, he will take the decisions about the number of persons to be deployed, fire power etc. and at that stage he will consult them about the arrangements, if any, to be made by the Delhi Police.

41.4.4 If the Government did not want to make any amendment or increase the strength of the SPG, then a separate force comparable to SPG could have been created but to that aspect also no importance was attached although some bureaucrats like Shri Bhure Lal and Shri Venugopal suggested for creation of such a separate force. The V.P.Singh Government turned a deaf ear to the protests made subsequently after cessation of SPG cover on 09.02.1990. Amendment was suggested but was not given due consideration.�

41.4.5 It cannot be said that the Government was not knowing that such specialised trained units responsible exclusively for proximate security are not present in the states which may give protection having power of complete control and veto. Shri V.P.Singh Government and Shri Chandra Shekhar Government ought to have called the reports as to how the alternative scheme is actually seen in operation.

If this examination would have been made, the deficiency would have been found and if deficiency would have been found then consideration could have been given to beef up Shri Rajiv Gandhi's security by providing him possible proximate cover under the control of the Central Government. The threat scenario continued to be grave and more serious day by day when Shri Rajiv Gandhi used to visit places outside Delhi, when his public exposure was At its height during electioneering and when masses used to throng to his public meetings.

41.4.6 The theoretical aspect or framing of scheme, instructions or guidelines is one thing but the most important aspect is the implementation of those guidelines and practice. What was actually needed was how in practice the principles of security need to be observed. The system should be such whereby implementation becomes a routine course and becomes systemic. If a specialised trained force for proximate security would be there, it can be taken that there would be complete implementation as the proximate security concept is based on a regular system. Breaches on the part of Shri Rajiv Gandhi of certain guidelines would not mean that the system provided was in no way deficient and such breaches cannot be pressed into service to contend that the scheme or the guidelines provided an adequate protective security cover.

41.4.7 At the time of formation of SPG, study of all systems of security the world over was made. On the basis of such study, recommendations were made with emphasis on raising an exclusive, dynamic and elite force of highly motivated and specially trained men and it was considered that even the best formulated scheme will not work satisfactorily unless the implementation is carried out with full awareness of the problems involved and the basic principles underlying the proposed solutions.

'SPG A Myth?' and Rajiv's Security

41.4.8 Even this contention will not hold good that SPG in operation is equally ineffective and SPG protection is a myth. It is noteworthy that SPG is a system of giving protection what one possibly can conceive of. Such a system has been devised. Despite that if there is failure, then it does not mean that the system as such is not good.

Whatever deficiencies which remain in operation of the SPG, those have to be rectified but in case of Rajiv Gandhi's security, it cannot be found that the system as such was of that level or there was any automatic effective implementation system. It appears that Shri V.P. Singh only extends his lip sympathy when he states that he had the highest respect for Gandhi family and Rajiv's security was his personal concern and out of personal concern and political sagacity, serious consideration was given to Rajiv's security. If such was his concern, then he, being a very mature and experienced national political leader of the country, ought to have considered the question not in a myopic may but with farsightedness.

Although he has deposed that the mater was considered at different levels and a collective decision was arrived at but it was for him to guide the entire course of consideration on the question of Rajiv's security including the question of systemic implementation at different levels and even at the level of Council of Ministers.

He should have given thought and should have seriously considered and as political leader he understands as to what quality should be there in the Police personnel to whom responsibility is given for proximate security. He has deposed that proximate security personnel should be motivated and specially trained to be always in a State of preparedness and also well equipped. If such a thoughtful consideration has not been given to the issue, it cannot be said that the examination of the question was thorough, anxious or with honest concern.

Was it not his duty to collect necessary information from the States and place the same not only before his Cabinet colleagues but also apprise the same to the officers of different levels and ask them that in the existing situation in the States what should be the system of security for Shri Rajiv Gandhi. It is not borne our from the record that any such study or consideration at any level was made. No expert expressed any opinion regarding the capacity of the States for providing the required level of proximate security.

The Cabinet should have through independently of what advice has been tendered, assessed the threat to Shri Rajiv Gandhi after demition of office and in the light of that examined the question of nature and level of security needed by him. It appears that without shouldering the responsibility, the buck was passed on the States knowing very well the lacunae in the State protective system.It is unbelievable that Shri V.P. Singh could be swayed by the opinion of the security and bureacratic experts. He, himself, has deposed that he is not fickle minded and cannot be influenced by notes like that of Shri V.C. Pande of 30th. January, 1990; he does not take decisions unless he, himself is convinced.

But it appears that the question of Rajiv Gandhi's Security was examined with a closed mind. Either he was led away by the experts, which he was not, and would not, or the services towed his line as with the SPG protection, the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi appeared like the Prime Minister. If, according to him, SPG in operation is as good as the State Police System meant for providing security, then he should have taken steps to scrap the SPG Act or in place of SPG, any other effective force should have been contemplated and given the shape of law. Enjoying the political clout, his voice would have been heard and acted upon and some law in place of SPG would have come into force.

Collective Responsibility

42 Shri D.D. Thakur, Learned Counsel for Shri V.P. Singh, submitted that in the Parliamentary form of government, there is a collective responsibility of the Cabinet and the Government. No individual Minister for that, the Prime Minister alone cannot be held responsible for the decision of providing alternative security to Shri Rajiv Gandhi more particularly when the decision has been taken by the Cabinet. Shri V.P. Singh has deposed that in the Cabinet there was an unanimous view that SPG cannot be allowed to continue.

All the members of the Council of Ministers of Shri V.P. Singh Government have not been served with any notice under Section 8-B. Shri V.P. Singh alone therefore cannot to held responsible. Civil Service is required to make available all the information and experience at their command. He referred to the following passages from the treatise 'Cabinet Government' by Sir Ivor Jennings Third Edition.

"Sir Warren Fisher has stated the principles upon which civil servants act.

Determination of policy is the function of minister, and once a policy is determined it is the unquestioned and unquestionable business of the civil servant to strive to carry out that policy with precisely the same good will whether he agrees with it or not. That is axiomatic and will never be in dispute. At the same time it is the traditional duty of civil servants, while decisions are being formulated, to make available to their political chiefs all the information and experience at their disposal, and to do this without fear or favour, irrespective of whether the advice thus tendered may accord or not with the minister's initial view.

The presentation to the minister of relevant facts, the ascertainment and marshalling of which may often call into play the whole organisation of the department, demands of the civil servant the greatest care. The presentation of inferences from the facts equally demands from the facts equally demands from him all the detachment he can command."

"The civil servants' function is thus to advise, to warn, to draft memoranda and speeches in which the Govern's policy is expressed and explained, to take the consequential decisions which flow from a decision on policy, to draw attention to difficulties which are arising or are likely to arise through the execution of policy, and generally to see that the process of government is carried on in conformity with the policy laid down. It is inevitable that he should develop and give expression to views of his own and that the department as a whole should adopt and seek to give effect to principles of action which arise out of the common experience of its senior members. It would be difficult to give specific examples because any such principles would not be expressed in writing; they would be the sum of the 'inarticulate major premises' of the officials concerned, and would be imperfectly known to the officials themselves."

9. Collective Responsibility

For all that passes in Cabinet (said Lord Salisbury in 1878) each member of it who does not resign is absolutely and irretrievably responsible, and has no right afterwards to say that he agreed in one case to a compromise, while in another he was persuaded by his colleagues... It is only on the principle that absolute responsibility is undertaken by every member of the Cabinet who, after a decision is arrived at, remains a member of it, that the joint responsibility of Ministers to Parliament can be upheld, and one of the most essential principles of parliamentary responsibility established."

It is true that the decision was of the Cabinet. Without entering into the question as to whether the matter was such which was required to be put up before the Cabinet, whether the scheme prepared for the security of Shri Giani Zail Singh had the approval of the Cabinet, it may be stated, Shri V.P. Singh had seen and approved the note for the Cabinet as Minister in charge and that he got the seal of the Cabinet for the proposal put up by him before the Cabinet he was heading. Therefore, he cannot absolve himself from the responsibility on the basis of the doctrine of collective responsibility. He played a pivotal role in the Cabinet decision which cannot be denied.

In a matter like this, it is not necessary to serve notices on all the Ministers in the Cabinet. Shri V.P. Singh has deposed that being part of the Cabinet, he shares the responsibility and he does not shirk his responsibility. Simulataneously, he also deposes, "and so does the previous Government of Shri Rajiv Gandhi share the responsibility for not providing SPG to Ex-Prime Minister, and so does the Government of Shri Chandra Shekar". The responsibility here is in respect of not providing the nature, quality and level and system of security needed to Shri Rajiv Gandhi. This responsibility is of both the Governments of Shri V.P. Singh and of Shri Chandra Sekhar. Not including Ex-Prime Ministers under the cover of SPG Act in 1988 is a different question which I have dealt with in the light of the legislative doctrine based on the 'felt necessities of the time'.

Authority and Responsibility

42.1 Sri V.P. Singh in his deposition has stated that he had been unnecessarily held responsible. At the time when the assassination took place he was not in authority. According to him, authority and responsibility go together. It was Shri Chandra Sekhar who was in power supported by the Congress party. It is for that Government during whose regime the event had taken place, that is responsible. In his deposition, Shri. V.P. Singh argued:

Deposition of V.P. Singh dt. 24.10.1996)

"... regarding my responsibility I want to draw the attention of the Commission to the Cardinal Principle of Justice that authority and responsibility go together. You can't hold a person responsible without authority. Here, this is a particular perversion of jurisprudence and law, that the Congress is holding responsible a person for an event who at that time of the event had no authority."

42.1.1 The argument appears to be quite plausible. But the Commission is examining and inquiring into sequence of events. How events took shape in connection with Rajiv's security? While examining that sequence, it cannot be lost sight of as to what protective cover was available to Shri. Rajiv Gandhi at what time. He was having the protective cover of SPG till 9th February, 1990 but thereafter his security scenario changed. How far that worked to provide protection is required to be taken into consideration. Who is responsible and who is not, is not the question. Who was in authority and who was not in authority is not the question. What sort of security was provided and at what time are the questions relating to sequence. so, it is in that light the matter is being examined by the Commission.



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