Hours after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) termed Sunday’s ink attack on chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as a rehearsal of an assassination attempt, the Delhi Police on Monday said he was being provided a Z-plus category security cover ever since he took oath as the CM in February 2015.
More than 50 police personnel, including trained commandos equipped with high-tech weapons,were deployed in Kejriwal’s security cover, the police claimed.
SBK Singh, special commissioner of police (security wing of Delhi Police), said the police had been providing Z+ category security cover to Kejriwal as per the protocols laid down by the government. “The Delhi CM’s threat perception is reviewed time and again and a security cover is arranged accordingly,” Singh told HT.
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A senior Delhi Police official said that Kejriwal’s security was increased from Z to Z-plus following intelligence inputs that keep him under serious threats. As a ‘Z+’ category protectee, the officer said, Kejriwal gets security cover from commandos armed with sophisticated MP5 guns and modern communication gadgets.
“As per the protocol, Kejriwal’s official vehicle is always protected by an escort vehicle and a pilot vehicle whenever he is out on the streets. Each security vehicle has at least three security personnel while three personal security officers (PSOs) remain associated with him round-the-clock,” said the officer. Security arrangement is also provided at the official residence of the chief minister, which comprises either one head constable and four constables or two head constables and eight constables,” the officer said.
On allegations from AAP members that security was not provided by the Delhi Police to Kejriwal during his recent visit to Ludhiana in Punjab, the police officer said that everything was done as per the protocol.
According to rules, security cover is provided to the protectee only when he/she is travelling via roads and that too for less than 72 hours. “During his Punjab visit, Kejriwal took a flight from the Delhi airport. His security cover ended at the airport after he took the flight. It resumed as soon as he arrived at the Delhi railway station,” said the officer. “Providing security to Kejriwal in Punjab or during his train journey from Punjab till Delhi borders was the responsibility of the Punjab Police. Blaming us (Delhi Police) for the security lapse is unwarranted,” said the officer.
Kejriwal had been apprehensive about taking security cover, saying it would hamper his interaction with the public. Police sources said he was given Z category security when he first became Delhi’s chief minister in 2014, despite his three back-to-back refusals to accept it.
The security cover was withdrawn immediately after he resigned from the CM’s post, but was reinstated within hours after his party swept the Delhi Assembly elections, winning 67 of the 70 seats.