In matters pertaining to Mukesh Ambani’s Z+ security, the Supreme Court halted the Tripura High Court’s order seeking review of the security cover of the industrialist. Earlier the Tripura High Court had summoned Home Ministry Officials in a PIL filed against the Z+ security over given to Mr. Ambani. On Wednesday, the apex court heard the plea filed by the Centre, challenging the Tripura HC PIL.
Earlier, the Centre had told the Tripura HC that Mr. Ambani has a Z+ security for himself and his wife Nita Ambani has a Y+ security. Mr. Ambani himself bears the cost of the Z+ and Y+ security cover. However, their three children do not have any such security.
On the basis of a PIL filed by Bikash Saha, the Tripura HC sought the original file on the threat perception and assessment based on which The Ambani couple is covered. During the hearing, the Centre told the Supreme Court that the petitioner is “a meddlesome interloper” and the PIL filed is “misconceived, frivolous and motivated”.
For the unversed, Mukesh Ambani was the first Indian industrialist to receive the Z+ security cover. In a Z+ cover, 55 security personnel, including 1 NSGs are always on a 24/7 watch duty. For such a cover, Mr. Ambani pays a hefty Rs 15-16 lakhs/month, according to The Economic Times.
The Facts of the Matter
On Wednesday, the SC stayed orders of the Tripura HC which sought review and assessment of the Z+ security cover that protects Mukesh Ambani, chairman of India’s biggest conglomerate Reliance Industries. The Centre had earlier on Monday moved SC questioning the Tripura HC’s jurisdiction to entertain PIL. The PIL questioned the validity of the cover provided to Mukesh Ambani, and his wife Neeta Ambani, who is covered by Y+ security.
“Just a meddlesome interlope”
In the hearing, the Centre argued that the PIL submitted before Tripura HC was filed by a person who was “just a meddlesome interlope” who had no locus in the matter. Further, the Centre also argued that similar PILs had been submitted before the Bombay High Court, were dismissed, and the orders were confirmed by the Supreme Court.
Protection was Given on Maha Govt’s Suggestion
It should be noted that Mukesh Ambani was the first industrialist in India to be given Z+security. He was given the security based on the Maharashtra Government. During the hearing, Solicitor General, who appeared for Centre, argued that as the security was given on Maharashtra government’s recommendation, the Tripura HC had no reason to hear such petition.
“Tripura completely alien”: Centre
An NDTV report quoted the Centre’s argument regarding the matter, which read, “Mukesh Ambani, his wife, and children, admittedly are residents of Mumbai, and the place where the decision on whether to provide them with security or not was taken, is New Delhi. Therefore, the territorial jurisdiction of the state of Tripura was completely alien to the subject matter”.
What is Z+ Security Cover?
For the unversed, the Indian government provides security to high-ranking and high-value Indian citizens, including judges, politicians, etc. The highest category of this security cover is Z+, only granted in rare situations. So far, it has only been granted to seventeen people in India.
How Secure is Z+ Security Cover?
The Z+ security cover, which protects both Mukesh Ambani, and PM Modi himself, includes 55 security personnel. This also includes 10 elite National Security Guards who keep a watch on their subject 24/7. The personnel are allowed to carry weapons of high caliber as well.
As Ambani is a “national asset” for the country, he is under threats constantly and hence, is protected by Z+ security.
Ambani Pays Rs. 17 Lakhs a Month for Security
Although Mr. Ambai is protected by the most elite of security personnel, he also has to pick up the tab for the Z+ security cover himself. The protection is estimated to be somewhere around $22,000 a month (around Rs. 17 lakhs). Moreover, Mr. Ambani provides living quarters, cooking facilities and bears other essential expenses for the security staff.