Union Home Secretary holds virtual meeting with West Bengal top officials over security arrangements of high dignitaries
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 18
Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla on Friday held a video conference meet with West Bengal’s chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay and the Director General of Police (DGP) Virendra late this evening after the senior officials from the state conveyed their inability to travel to the national capital.
Sources in the know of the deliberations said the virtual meeting, which lasted for about 35 minutes, went on well amicably.
Other than the state officials from the Centre’s side, the home secretary, who chaired the meeting, was assisted by Director Intelligence Bureau Arvind Kumar and Joint Secretary (Internal Security) in the MHA Punya Salila Srivastava.
The sources said the top officials of the MHA impressed upon the chief secretary and the DGP to ensure better coordination of state forces with the central agencies during the visit of protectee high dignitaries so that better security could be ensured to them.
The sources said, the union home secretary also took note of the political violence in the state and asked the state officials about the steps taken so far in this regard.
Refusal by the state government to shift three IPS officers on central deputations also figured during the deliberations, they added.
The meeting was held after MHA had sent a fresh letter to the state’s two top officials asking them to come to New Delhi for a meeting with the home secretary at 5 pm today. But they conveyed they were not in a position to travel to the national capital in the present circumstances and offered to attend the meeting through video conference.
CRPF seeks West Bengal DGP support for Amit Shah’s visit
Amid standoff between the Centre and the West Bengal government, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) wrote to the Director General of Police (DGP) seeking adequate arrangement of police support in view of Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s two-day visit to the state beginning tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has accorded “Z” category VIP security cover to Suvendu Adhikari, a former minister in the Mamata Banerjee government, who has recently resigned from the assembly and is likely to join BJP.
Sources in the security establishment said Shah is a Z plus protectee and the CRPF requires the support of the state police for Advance Security Liaison (ASL) facility.
Under ASL category, an advance team coordinates with security stakeholders for well coordinated arrangement during the protectee’s visit to the concerned areas, they added.
In the letter, the CRPF has also mentioned about the security lapses during the recent visit of BJP president JP Nadda to the state on December 10.
Sources said, the CRPF has written that during the incident of attack on Nadda adequate police deployment was not available.
Nadda has been accorded “Z” category of security of the CRPF, but on December 10 his convoy was allegedly attacked by the TMC workers in Diamond Harbour area of Kolkata in which he escaped but party general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and state BJP chief Dilip Ghosh were hurt.
Taking a stern view of the incident, Centre sought a report from the state government and the governor and transferred the three IPS officers, who were responsible for BJP president’s security, on Central deputation.
According to sources, Adhikari, 50, would be secured by armed commandos of the CRPF whenever he moves in West Bengal under “Z” category of security cover.
At all places except West Bengal, they said, he will have a “Y+” cover by the central paramilitary force.
Under the “Z” category, Adhikari will have a mobile team of about 6-7 armed CRPF commandos and a pilot and escort vehicle. A report of the central security agencies on probable threats against Adhikari was analysed before the security was granted to him, the sources said.