HC notice to TN on security lapse during Rahul visit to Chennai

Rahul caught in the crush of people at Rajaji Hall.

Chennai: The Madras High Court today issued notices to the Tamil Nadu and Central governments on a PIL seeking a judicial probe into the alleged security lapses during Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to 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 Rahul visited Rajaji Hall 8 August to pay homage to late Karunanidhi, whose mortal remains were kept there to enable public pay their last respects, there was 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.

File photo of Madras High Court

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

He sought ex gratia of Rs 20 lakh each to the families of those who died. A video-clipping showed one security officer in front of Rahul 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 7 August and his funeral took place the next day.