Controversy Erupts over Robert Vadra’s SPG cover

A controversy has erupted over Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra enjoying special privileges at airports in India. Robert Vadra is the only private citizen who is exempt from frisking at airports in India when travelling with SPG protectors – her wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law. You will easily spot this list in smaller airports. In bigger airports you will struggle to find it.

Citizens, netizens and many other people have repeatedly raised questions about this and asked for stripping him of this special privilege. This has gained prominence when civil aviation minister recently hinted that Vadra may lose privileges. There is also news reports that govt. is reviewing security of politicians and VVIPs.

The SPG Act, which was enacted in 1988 and amended in 1991, 1994 and 1999, provides for ‘Proximate Security’ to the Prime Minister and the members of his immediate family.

Any former prime ministers or members of their immediate families are also entitled to SPG security for a period of 10 years from the date on which they cease to hold office.  Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka of course have been on an extended cover, Rajiv assassinated in 1991.

With an inkling that husband Robert may be ripped of special privileges, Priyanka wrote a letter urging Director SPG to not give any special treatment to Robert. She also said that she never asked for this and SPG on its own has been granting this facility to Robert. She also has said that even she should not get this special treatment at airports. She mentioned that a lot of times earlier she has asked for removal of facilities to Robert as he felt very embarrassing.

Of course this is being done to preempt any stripping of privileges to Robert. He is is our national damaad. While immediate family of former prime ministers get SPG cover he is the only damaad to get this special treatment. If she had written to SPG earlier why is the latest letter been made public. How many times travelling with Priyanka, has Robert gone for security checks? How do security personnel determine whether he is traveling with Priyanka or alone so as to determine whether he should be frisked or not? How many personnel at airports know that he has to be frisked when travelling alone? If he was embarrassed why didn’t he offer for frisking himself? You have a choice to refuse SPG cover.

While it is for Home Ministry to decide, security threat on Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka have been significantly reduced after LTTE has been decimated in Sri Lanka.

Crores of tax payers money is being spent to protect a person whose land dealings have been in question. Doesn’t presence of SPG personnel along with him instil fear in parties who are dealing with him. Doesn’t it lead to show off. Why is the law been amended to give protection to a particular family. All these questions need to be answered.

Getting free security at taxpayers cost to show off that a person is VVIP need to be stopped. Convicted people like Lalu have Z category security. Why? Govt. has to answer and do a clean up. Even BJP people getting unwarranted security will not be tolerated now.

A proper security policy for VVIPs needs to be framed. A lot of policemen are deployed to protect VVIPs. A separate force needs to be created with option of billing also needs to be examined. All these people can pay so why give them security free.

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