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Security lapse in Rahul Gandhi’s security: HC notice to TN govt

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Chennai, Aug 17: The Madras High Court today 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.

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

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 lathicharge 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.

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