The Jharkhand police headquarters courted an controversy by first issuing an order to withdraw IED jammer-equipped vehicles from Babulal Marandi, Arjun Munda (both former Chief Ministers) and former Home Minister Sudesh Mahto’s security and then annulling the same order within hours.
IG Special Branch PRK Naidu against the backdrop of State Security Committee’s recommendations issued a letter seeking the withdrawal of jammer-fitted vehicles from the three leaders.
However, the heat it generated even caught Chief Minister Madhu Koda unawares. “I don’t know the details. But, I will ensure that the leaders get the required security cover,” said Koda.
Although, there were no official words on this, it seems Koda has prevailed over the police brass to withdraw the orders.
“The order to withdraw the vehicles was issued on March 30. However, we have now decided to maintain the status quo after objections were raised by a few of the dignitaries,” Naidu told
“In view of the State Government’s directives, the IED jammer-equipped vehicles are to be withdrawn from Babulal Marandi, Arjun Munda and Sudesh Mahto,” reads the earlier letter issued by the police headquarters. (HT has a copy of this letter).
The State Government had in 2005 purchased improvised explosive device (IED) jammers, bullet-proof vehicles for Rs.160 million to beef up VIP security.
The government had then purchased the jammer-fitted vehicles especially for the security of Arjun Munda, Babulal Marandi, and Sudesh Mahto. The three leaders continue to be on the hit list of the Maoists and are covered under the Z category security.
Although, both Sudesh Mahto and Babulal Marandi played it down by suggesting that the “Jharkhand Government was free to take decisions,” Leader of the Opposition Arjun Munda offered to return his entire security cover in protest. Munda had also shot off a letter to the Home Secretary in this regard.
“The security cover is not a luxury for me. The Government appears too causal on security issues. I am entitled to Z-plus security cover, yet they prefer not to consult me before taking such decisions,” Munda said. It can be mentioned here that security persons had on two occasions arrested revolver-wielding miscreants from Munda’s public meeting venues.
Similarly, there are more than one instance of former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and former Home Minister Sudesh Mahto avoiding Naxalite ambush narrowly.