Home Ministry prunes security list of VIPs
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 18:03
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 Z-Plus categories.

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NSG cover for Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav was also recommended to be withdrawn.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.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, November 11, 2009, 18:03

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