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Apr 23, 2013

Government Stands by its Mukesh Ambani Security Decision

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The Union government is defending its decision to offer Z category security cover to industrialist Mukesh Ambani. While there has been a fair bit of criticism in the media, the government has chosen to take a stand & has stated that the threat perception to the RIL honcho is very real.

Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari was also quoted as saying that “security is given only after a threat perception assessment.”

Reliance Industries Ltd. chairman Mukesh Ambani had reportedly received death threats from the infamous terrorist group, Indian Mujahideen. This is the same organization that had carried out a numerous devastating terror attacks across the country including the recent Bengaluru and Hyderabad blasts. Sources reveal that the letter proclaiming the death threat was hand delivered at Mr. Ambani’s south Mumbai residence.

Government sources claim that the decision to provide the high profile security cover, given only to a select few, has been taken only after considerable due diligence and threat analysis by law enforcement agencies including inputs from the Intelligence Bureau which has strongly recommended round-the-clock security cover for Mr. Ambani.

As part of the enhanced security arrangement, the RIL chairman will now have armed commandos with escort vehicles accompanying him all the time.

ABP news quoted Union Home Minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, as saying that Mr. Ambani would be paying for the security cover. The industrialist’s existing security entourage isn’t fully equipped to handle the current threat level - both in terms of resource deployment as well as weaponry, further denting claims that the security cover is unjustified. Also, this should prevent it from becoming a burden on the state exchequer.

According to standard operating procedures, every law abiding citizen has the right to security cover should there be a direct threat to his or her life. Given the serious nature of the threat, the CRPF has been assigned the task of protecting Ambani.

This furore has sparked off a debate in some circles that important business leaders should be given security, given the fact that politicians, with their poor track record are guarded round the clock. Also, the question of placing an additional burden on the exchequer has to be viewed in a different light in the RIL chairman’s case – whose enterprise contributes to almost 3% of the country’s GDP.

The home ministry stated that Mukesh Ambani is a “national asset”. It is a fact that 15 lakh people depend on Reliance Industries for their livelihood. In this context, we should be reflecting on our process of government involvement in security provision for business denizens.


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