The Punjab government on Saturday decided to withdraw the state police security given to Congress Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa, citing he virtually faced no threat.
The decision has come days after Bajwa and another Congress Rajya Sabha MP, Shamsher Singh Dullo, sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate into the alleged illegal liquor trade in the state following the hooch tragedy that claimed over 100 lives.
The state Congress unit on Friday had written to its central high command recommending their expulsion for anti-party activities.
Bajwa on the other hand demanded immediate removal of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar 'in the interest of the party' and said, "If the CM and state chief are not removed, the party will be obliterated in Punjab."
An official spokesperson here on Saturday said, "The Punjab government has decided to withdraw the state police security from Congress MP Pratap Singh Bajwa after an assessment showed that he had virtually no threat perception and was, in any case, now getting the central security directly accorded to him by the Union Home Ministry."
The state police security provided to Bajwa had become redundant since he had procured personal security directly from Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the spokesperson said.
A mixed security component was, in any case, not considered good, particularly when the Rajya Sabha MP had by opting for central security showed that he had no faith in the state police, the official added.
According to the spokesperson, contrary to claims made by Bajwa, the central security he had got was not at the behest of the Congress leadership.
In fact, the Union home ministry had not even consulted the state government to gauge the threat perception, which is usually done before providing central security to any person, said the spokesperson.
Bajwa, as a Rajya Sabha MP, may have simply approached the party's leader in the House, Ghulam Nabi Azad, to seek central security, and as is the norm, the latter could have simply sent his request to the Union Home Ministry, the spokesperson said.
However, for some reason, the home ministry chose not to discuss the matter of Bajwa's threat perception with the state government in this case, which was a clear deviation from the norm followed in such cases, the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson further said that Bajwa has actually been getting enhanced security from Punjab Police all this time, way beyond what he was entitled to as a Rajya Sabha MP.
This was because the state government decided not to withdraw the greater security he had at his disposal as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) earlier, the official added.
Bajwa was given Z Category security by the ministry of home affairs on March 19 and as of date has 25 Central Industrial Security Force personnel for personal security, house protection and escort, besides two escort drivers.
Till March 23, he had 14 Punjab Police personnel protecting him but a few were withdrawn for coronavirus duties.
Currently, Bajwa in his security cover has six Punjab Police personnel and an escort with driver, which are now being withdrawn, said the spokesperson.