SC raps govt for security cover to Mukesh Ambani

In an apparent reference to recently provided security cover to industrialist Mukesh Ambani, the Supreme Court on Wednesday questioned the rationale behind the move even as the common man continues to feel unsafe for want of protection.

"We read in newspapers that the Ministry of Home has directed for CRPF security to an individual. Why should a private businessman in Mumbai be provided state security? If they have threat perception, let them engage private security. Why should state security be provided to them? Private businessmen getting security is prevalent in Punjab, but it seems that culture has now gone to Mumbai too," observed a Bench led by Justice G S Singhvi.

The Bench did not name Ambani, but the observations were apparently made in the context of the recent top-level security cover for him, provided by the MHA last month on a threat perception.

The move to provide full-time security to Ambani was sanctioned by the MHA two months after a letter threatening him was hand-delivered to his office in Mumbai, allegedly from the banned Indian Mujahideen. Ambani is footing the bill for the 'Z' category security, usually reserved for prominent political leaders.

"It is public exchequer. What about the security of the common man? Every day we hear news that a minor is raped. A five-year-old would not have been raped if there was proper security in the Capital," said the Bench, citing a recent incident wherein a minor was kidnapped and raped.

The family had alleged that the police refused to pay heed to their repeated requests to immediately search the child and rather offered her father Rs 2,000 to keep quiet about his daughter's ordeal. The minor is still recuperating in a hospital. It also took strong exception to continuance of security cover for various persons with criminal records and asked: "Why should persons facing criminal charges like rape and murder be provided security at state expense unless there are specific instances based on records of a threat perception? We have to create our own mechanism to assess security threat. Security given to private individual facing criminal prosecution must be withdrawn. We have seen people facing cases under 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) sections of the IPC getting state security."

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