Screenshot of the video of the ‘green laser’ incident involving Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul Gandhi ‘Security Breach’: Congress Denies Writing To Home Ministry

Hours after reportedly claiming a “green laser”, that could potentially have been from a “sniper rifle”, was pointed at Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi’s head multiple times during his visit to Amethi on Wednesday, 10 April, party sources have now denied writing any letter to the home minister.

Earlier in the day, a letter on a Congress letterhead addressed to Home Minister Rajnath Singh was shared via news agency ANI.

(Photo: ANI)
Screenshot of the ANI tweet, with the Congress letter to MHA.

In the letter, three senior Congress leaders – Ahmed Patel, Jairam Ramesh and Randeep Singh Surjewala – had written that while Gandhi was filing his nomination in Amethi for the Lok Sabha polls, “… a laser (green) was pointed at his head, intermittently on at least 7 separate occasions in a short period; including twice at his temple on the right side of the head”.

But Surjewala denied writing any such letter, as per PTI, and said the party had not written to the home minister about any security breach.

(Photo: ANI)
A copy of the Congress letter.
(Photo: ANI)
A copy of the Congress letter.

POTENTIAL WEAPON, SUCH AS SNIPER

The letter also cited a video of the incident as proof. In the video, Gandhi can be seen interacting with media personnel while the mysterious green dot appears on his forehead repeatedly.

“A perusal of the video (Annexure A1) by various persons including former security personnel leads to a prima facie conclusion that this laser could emanate from a potential weapon such as a sniper gun.” 
Excerpts from the letter

Seeking a probe into the incident, the letter had earlier said that this is a cause of serious alarm, citing the assassinations of Rahul Gandhi’s grandmother and father – still etched in public memory.

In the letter, the Congress leaders also hit out at the UP government for a lapse in security.

The MHA, meanwhile, denied ever receiving any letter regarding the alleged breach. Director (SPG) informed the MHA that they had gone through the video clipping of the incident and found that the ‘green laser’ was from a mobile phone used by an AICC photographer.

The “green light” shown in the clipping was found to be that of a mobile phone used by the AICC photographer, who was video-graphing the impromptu press interaction of Shri 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. Dir (SPG) has confirmed that there was no security implication whatsoever.”
MHA statement

Sniper, Mobile Phone... Or Was Gandhi ‘Targetted’ by the Sun?

Amid claims and counter-claims on the alleged security breach that saw a laser being pointed at Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s forehead, a closer look at the video reveals that it might not have been a sniper – as claimed by the Congress – or a mobile phone’s green light – as stated by the SPG director in an MHA statement.

A frame-by-frame breakdown of the original, unedited video from the Indian National Congress’ official YouTube channel makes for some interesting viewing.

As it appears from visual evidence, the light seen on Gandhi’s forehead was a double reflection of a solar glare – reflected first off a ANI boom microphone’s shiny plastic surface, onto the lens of the camera used to record the video.

At each instance (down to the micro-second) the ‘green laser’ is seen on Gandhi’s forehead, a solar glare can be seen on the ANI boom mic and a mild lens flare can be seen on the camera.

Here is a frame-by-frame breakdown of the video (to highlight the coinciding solar glare on the boom mic and the ‘green laser’ on Rahul Gandhi’s forehead):

KEY FRAME 1 (14 Seconds)

(Photo: The Quint)

KEY FRAME 2 (15 seconds)

Rahul Gandhi ‘Security Breach’: Congress Denies Writing To Home Ministry

KEY FRAME 3 (1 minute 3 seconds)

Rahul Gandhi ‘Security Breach’: Congress Denies Writing To Home Ministry

KEY FRAME 4 (1 minute 33 seconds)

Rahul Gandhi ‘Security Breach’: Congress Denies Writing To Home Ministry

KEY FRAME 5 (1 minute 35 seconds)

Rahul Gandhi ‘Security Breach’: Congress Denies Writing To Home Ministry

Here is the original video, notice how the ‘green laser’ dot disappears from Gandhi’s forehead the very second the solar glare and subsequently the lens flare disappear. (Observe the key frames closely – 14 seconds, 15 seconds, 1 minute 3 seconds, 1 minute 33 seconds and 1 minute 35 seconds into the video).

(Disclaimer: While the possibility of a security breach – or that the green light was emitting from the cameraperson's mobile phone – cannot be ruled out based on a video analysis. The intent of this analysis is to offer an alternative explanation.)

‘Huge Security Lapse’

Amidst the commotion, several Twitter users expressed concerns and demanded a probe.

(With inputs from Shreyasi Roy, ANI and PTI)