Minister of state for civil aviation, Mahesh Sharma, on Thursday clarified that the Modi government had plan to remove Robert Vadra from the elite ‘no-frisking’ list at domestic airports.
“We are not withdrawing Robert Vadra’s name from the list. It is not on our radar,” Sharma was quoted by the news agency PTI.
Sharma’s comments on the security status of the son-in-law of Congress president, Sonia Gandhi, comes nearly a year after Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had said that the no-frisking list should be meaningful and ornamental.
As things stand, Vadra, while travelling with an SPG protectee, is not frisked. He will have to go through the frisking like any other passengers after he’s removed from the elite list even while travelling with SPG protectees.
Among those who are in this list include 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 in Vadra’s family are his 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.