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Rajiv took 30 sec to call army: Alexander

Source: PTI
August 11, 2005 18:47 IST
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Late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi had taken only 30 seconds to clear the deployment of army to control widespread anti-Sikh riots in 1984 in Delhi, his then principal secretary P C Alexander, said in Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Disputing the claim of former Lieutenant Governor P G Gavai that there was delay in calling the army, Alexander accused Gavai of coming up with conflicting versions of the chain of events apparently to cover up his role in tackling the situation.

"The Lt Governor has the authority to call in the army," Alexander said while taking part in the discussion on an opposition-sponsored motion on the Nanavati Commission report.

The former top bureaucrat said Gavai needn't have asked the then police commissioner to call in the army on November 1, 1984 as Gavai had claimed.

"Gavai has given different versions of the events," the member said adding former Lt Governor's assertions that he had chaired a meeting in which the home minister and the chief of army staff were summoned were wrong.

"No bureaucrat can summon the home minister to his office for the meeting," Alexander said.

He said the cabinet secretary had brought to Rajiv Gandhi's notice the deterioration in situation in the capital and asked him whether they could invoke his authority to call the army.

"Rajiv Gandhi did not dither and in half-a-minute said army should be called immediately."

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