‘Submit details of Naidu’s security’, AP high court tells Jagan government
The Andhra Pradesh high court on Tuesday directed the YSR Congress party government headed by Jagan Mohan Reddy to disclose the kind of security being provided to Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Justice U Durga Prasad issued a notice to the state government to this effect asking it to submit a detailed affidavit on the security cover provided to Naidu by July 9.
The court’s direction came on a petition filed by the TDP chief questioning the government’s decision to drastically reduce his security cover in the last one month. Naidu sought the court’s directions to the state government to restore the security to him in the wake of threat perception from Maoists.
Naidu survived a claymore mine attack by Maoists in October 2003 when he was the chief minister, and has since been under Z plus category security.
Senior advocate Subba Rao, who argued for the former chief minister, said the government had deliberately scaled down the security to Naidu and his family members purely on political grounds.
“Apart from Maoists, Naidu also has a threat to his life from red sanders smugglers, because of the stringent action he had taken against them during his tenure,” Rao said.
State advocate general Subrahmanyam Sriram, however, said Naidu was being given more security than what he was entitled to as the leader of opposition. “In all, 74 security personnel have been providing him security in different shifts and at different places, including national security guards provided by the Centre, besides bullet proof vehicle and a jammer vehicle. As an opposition leader, he is entitled to only 58 security personnel,” the advocate general said.
The high court judge, however, directed that the government submit a factual statement of the security cover being provided to Naidu along with details of all the security personnel, by July 9.
The state government had last week withdrawn two chief security officers, apart from 15-member special police team headed by two armed reserve inspectors from Naidu’s security set up. He was left with four constables, besides the Z plus security cover, including NSG commandos.
The government also withdrew security at Naidu’s residence in Amaravati and also in his native place Naravaripalle in Chittoor district. The security cover for his family members was also scaled down recently and his son Nara Lokesh was given just two constables for protection.
Andhra Pradesh home minister Mekathoti Sucharita said in the past that the decision to reduce security to Naidu was taken by the security review committee of the state police department.
On Tuesday, Sucharita, however, said if Naidu really wanted additional security cover, the government would consider the same. “The government has given him more than required security. If he still wants more protection, we shall consider it,” she said.
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