Monday 24 October 2016

No Plans to Withdraw Priyanka, Robert's Airport Privileges

New Delhi
File-PTI Photo/Atul Yadav

The government has no plans to withdraw the exemption given to Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra from nnrmal security checks at airports when they travel together.

"Security is given to any individual on the basis of threat perception and members of the Gandhi family continue to be under high degree of threat. Ensuring security to such people, agencies have to follow certain protocol which cannot be changed just like that," a senior official said.

As of now Priyanka, being a Special Protection Group protectee, is exempt from normal security check at airports.

While her husband Vadra has to undergo frisking at airports if he travels alone, he is exempt from normal security checks when he travels with Priyanka or any other SPG protectee.

After media reports suggested that the government was contemplating to withdraw privileges given to Vadra, Priyanka wrote a letter to SPG chief Durga Prasad and asked him to remove the exemption given to her and her family from normal security checks at airports.

"We have no plans as of now to review the facilities given to SPG protectees and those who travel with SPG protectees."

"A high-powered committee headed by Union Home Secretary periodically reviews security of individuals on the basis of threat perception. Security to anyone is given as per the decision of the committee on the basis of threat perception," the official said.

In her letter, Priyanka said Vadra's inclusion in the list was made at the instance of previous SPG chiefs and Delhi Police and not upon any request by "either of us who were informed after the fact".

"Since the government is now reportedly considering the removal of his name, I would like to inform you that I do not feel it will be correct for my children and me to avail the facility of exemption of these checks while entering or exiting airports when we are all travelling together," she wrote.

However, the letter triggered a controversy and Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said it was better to leave the issue to the security agencies for a decision.

"One should not politicise security issues. I have failed to understand why someone is trying to score a political brownie point. Security does not depend on whims and fancies of any individual," Rijiju had said.

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