HC notice to TN govt over lapses in Rahul's Security

HC notice to TN govt over lapses in Rahul's Security

Congress president Rahul Gandhi with DMK Working President MK Stalin after paying his last respects to DMK chief M Karunanidhi, at Rajaji Hall in Chennai on Wednesday. PTI Photo

The Madras High Court on Thursday issued notices to the Tamil Nadu and Central governments on a PIL seeking a judicial probe in alleged security lapses during Congress President Rahul Gandhi's visit to the Rajaji Hall here to pay homage to departed DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi.

A Division Bench comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, which heard the petition filed by advocate A P Suryaprakasam, posted the matter for further hearing on September 14.

According to the petitioner, when Gandhi visited the Rajaji Hall on August 8 to pay homage to late Karunanidhi, whose mortal remains were kept there to enable public to pay their last respects, there was a confusion in the security apparatus and a big lapse in the security of the SPG protectee.

"Rahul Gandhi was literally isolated and made to wade through a huge crowd of emotionally charged people in the overcrowded staircase of Rajaji Hall," he claimed and sought a judicial probe into alleged lapses.

The petitioner said the police had resorted to lathi charge on the public who came to pay tribute to the departed leader as a result of which three people died.

He sought an ex gratia of Rs 20 lakh each to the families of those who died.

A video-clipping showed one security officer in front of Gandhi and another precariously clinging to the half-rail of the staircase, both exposing their pistols and other arms they were carrying to the crowd, he submitted.

Alleging there was a 'grave' security lapse, the petitioner said the administration had neither provided any surveillance cameras nor metal detector to screen people accompanying the VIP.

After battling for life in a private hospital here for about 10 days, Karunanidhi breathed his last on August 7.