There is a threat to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's life and his security was breached when he had gone to file nomination from Amethi yesterday, the party has written to the Union home ministry. The Congress said during his media interaction, a laser was pointed at his head, which could have come from a sniper rifle.
Accusing the Uttar Pradesh administration of an "alarming lapse", the party asked the Centre to "probe and neutralise the threat", if any.
Rahul Gandhi's father and grandmother, former Prime Ministers Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi, were assassinated. In view of the high threat perception, Mr Gandhi is an SPG (Special Protection Group) protectee.
The home ministry said they had consulted the Director of the SPG, who said the light was from a cellphone.
In its letter to the home ministry, the Congress had enclosed a security video of Mr Gandhi's media interaction, which shows a spot of green light on the temple of the 48-year-old party chief.
This light was pointed "intermittently on at least 7 separate occasions in a short period; including twice at his temple on the right side of the head," read the letter, signed by senior party leaders Ahmed Patel, Randeep Surjewala and Jairam Ramesh.
After examination of the footage, various people including four security personnel, have come to the conclusion that it could be a from a sniper gun, the Congress letter claimed.
The home ministry has denied receiving any letter. But they said the SPG chief, after going through the video clipping, remarked that the matter had "no security implication whatsoever'.
"The "green light" shown in the clipping was found to be that of a mobile phone used by the AICC photographer, who was videographing the impromptu press interaction of Rahul Gandhi near the collectorate at Amethi. Director (SPG) has also informed MHA that this position was conveyed to the personal staff of Shri Rahul Gandhi," the ministry spokesperson said.
In April last year, the Congress had alleged "tampering" after an aircraft he had taken to Karnataka, reportedly developed "multiple faults". At the time, Mr Gandhi was campaigning in Karnataka ahead of the assembly elections in the state.
Civil aviation regulator DGCA had said the problem was with the autopilot mode, which is not uncommon. But the pilot had shifted to manual and landed safely, he aviation body had said.