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Robert Vadra no more a VVIP

Posted in S. Asia

Published on September 18, 2015 with No Comments

Name removed from ‘no-frisk’ list at airports

More than a year after coming into power, Narendra Modi-led NDA government has removed Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra from the “no-frisking” list at the country’s airports. Notably, Vadra had last week said that he was not a “VVIP or VIP” and he wanted his name to be removed from the “no-frisking” list. He had also expressed doubts about “double standards” of the government as on the one hand it says his name must be removed from the list and on the other it does not remove it from there. “Apparently the analysis disclosed by the government on my threat perception, allegedly says I am not required to be on this list, so why double standards in removing and further including my name, in the VVIP list,” he had said in a statement on Facebook.

He had added that it could also be part of a “conspiracy” to malign his image. Vadra had also said that he was not interested in the special privilege. Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma, meanwhile, said that the government had no option since Vadra himself wanted his name to be deleted from the list. Clearing the government’s stand, Sharma said that if Vadra wanted his name to be deleted earlier, he should’ve written a letter rather than posting it on Facebook. The issue of Vadra’s exemption from frisking and checking at airport had been raised many times.

Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had last year said that the no-frisking list should be meaningful and not “ornamental”. The current no-frisk list includes the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Union Cabinet ministers, Leader of Opposition, Supreme Court judges, high court chief justices, chief ministers and their deputies, governors and ambassadors. Those who are protected by the SPG, such as Vadra’s wife Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Rahul Gandhi, are also not frisked.

The Home Ministry had recently asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to go ahead with its plan to review the list of 33 categories of people, including the Dalai Lama and Vadra. The Home Ministry had said it did not consider the threat perception to Vadra serious enough to warrant his inclusion in the no-frisking list but advised the Civil Aviation Ministry to take a final call after consultation with the Special Protection Group, which guards his wife Priyanka.

The Home Ministry had reportedly left it to the Aviation Ministry to take a call on the issue as it was not in its ambit.


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