Upping its stance against VIP security for all, the Home Ministry recently declined to upgrade Union minister Nitin Gadkari’s security from Z to Z-plus category, a demand raised after the death of rural development minister Gopinath Munde.
The MHA has also decided not to task the National Security Guards (NSG), meant for anti-hijack and anti-terror operations, with VIP security in the future. The NSG presently guards 16 VVIP’s. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while reviewing the Centre’s security cover to various people, decided that the elite force should not be burdened with any kind of VIP security duties.
After the death of senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde in a road accident, apprehensions were raised about Gadkari’s security. “The BJP’s Maharashtra unit had demanded an upgrade in security cover for Gadkari. But an assessment by intelligence agencies and a committee constituted by the Home Ministry found that his present security was adequate. There was no need for an upgrade,” said a senior government official. A person with Z-plus security cover is entitled to 40 security personnel at a time.
Explaining its decision not to task the NSG with VIP duty, a senior official said, “The NSG’s primary charter is anti-terrorist operations. If we keep bogging them down with such duties then their efficiency will be affected. It has been decided that other security forces like the CRPF, CISF, ITBP and BSF will be used for such duties.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, till now, was given cover by the NSG, has moved to SPG cover. The last VIPs to be extended the NSG cover were Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and UP CM Akhilesh Yadav.
“There are lot of requests by Cabinet ministers and MPs to be provided VIP security cover since the new government came to power. None of them, however, want to give an official letter or any credible reason for the security cover. As a matter of principle, we have decided not to extend any such cover without a valid reason,” said the official.