New Delhi: Union Home Ministry has pruned the
security list of VIPs in the Z and Z-Plus categories and has
removed kins of former minister Shivraj Patil besides shifting
some retired bureaucrats to Y Category.
Surprisingly, the Ministry has not touched any political
stalwarts like RJD Chief Lalu Prasad, Samajwadi Party supremo
Mulayam Singh Yadav, and more interestingly former External
Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh, who fell out of favour from
the Government after his name surfaced in the oil-for-food
scam in Iraq.
LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan as also Uttar Pradesh Chief
Minister Mayawati and Shivraj Patil remain in the Z category,
in which 45 guards are used at a time to protect the VIP.
Surprisingly, former bureaucrats including retired Home
Secretaries V K Duggal and Dhirendra Singh, and retired CBI
Director Vijay Shanker Tiwari have been brought under
Y-Special category security cover, a Home Ministry official
said and wondered how this could have happened when complete
withdrawal of their security had been recommended.
Former Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission K C Pant as
well as Shivraj Patil`s daughter-in-law, grand-children and
his daughter`s father-in-law have been removed from the Z and
After complete revamp of X and Y categories, it was
expected that Home Minister P Chidambaram, may make radical
changes in Z category as he had expressed his opinion that
security should be provided only to those who either face
credible threats or hold Constitutional posts.
The Home Ministry bureaucrats had recommended withdrawal
of security provided by the elite NSG for some VIPs including
Mayawati and downgrading the cover for several dignitaries.
They had recommended that NSG security to BJP leader L K
Advani, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Farooq
Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad and anti-terrorist forum leader
M S Bitta should remain.
NSG cover for Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi and SP chief
Mulayam Singh Yadav was also recommended to be withdrawn.
VIPs in Z plus category get six PSOs, two guards at
house and screening staff and two escorts, while VIPs in Z
category do not get screening staff.
After dithering for five years, Home Ministry removed 30
VIPs in X-category security including former Chief Justice of
India Y S Sabarwal.
This was followed by withdrawal of security provided to
100 persons including senior bureaucrats and police officials
in the `Y` category including former National Technical
Research Organisation (NTRO) Chief R S Bedi and Delhi Police`s
Special Commissioner Neeraj Kumar.
"VIPs from various backgrounds and mostly politicians used
all possible connections to prove the genuineness of their
security cover before the Home Minister after the initial
pruning," a senior official said.
The expenditure incurred due to the VIP security was also
a constant financial burden on the Ministry, they said.
In some of the cases, it was observed that VIPs were
enjoying state security more as a status symbol and not due to
any threat perception, they said.