Thursday, Oct 30, 2014

‘Sting’ journalist who reported on Amit Shah gets VIP security

Bahal told the government that he was getting threats following the publication of his investigations, including the one against Amit Shah. (Express Archive) Bahal told the government that he was getting threats following the publication of his investigations, including the one against Amit Shah. (Express Archive)
Written by Vijaita Singh | New Delhi | Posted: February 23, 2014 4:43 am | Updated: February 23, 2014 8:59 am

The union home ministry has sanctioned VIP security for Aniruddha Bahal, editor of Cobrapost, the news portal that, along with

Gulail, recently released tapped conversations purportedly containing evidence of illegal surveillance mounted on a young woman by Narendra Modi’s close aide Amit Shah.

Bahal, who has carried out sting operations on a range of politicians and institutions, will be provided ‘Y’ category security, which means he will be protected by 11 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel. He will not be entitled to an official vehicle.

Among several other people who have been provided security is the MoS in the department of personnel and training, V Narayanasamy, and some Muslim leaders thought to be facing a threat from the Indian Mujahideen.

Narayanasamy, under whose car a pipe bomb was found in Puducherry last month, will get ‘Z plus’ security from the CRPF. The minister’s entire family, including his son N Somasundaram, daughter-in-law Yamuna and daughter Vijaya Kumari too have been given VIP security.

Islamic scholars Mahmood Madani and Maulana Syed Kalbe Sadiq too have been brought under ‘Z plus’ cover. Maulana Sadiq has been under attack for his efforts to spread modern education among Muslims. Alleged Indian Mujahideen operative Asadullah Akhtar, who was arrested along with Yasin Bhatkal last year, has apparently told his interrogators that both leaders were on the IM’s hit list.

Bahal said he had told the government that he was getting threats following the publication of his investigations, including the one against Amit Shah.

“After we did a series of exposes including the one involving Amit Shah, and the social media one, [The report alleged that IT companies were manipulating social media campaigns by buying fake Facebook likes and followers on Twitter, and running negative campaigns against rivals of their clients.] I started getting a lot of threat calls and inflammatory messages. I complained to the concerned authorities, the threat analysis must have been done, and I was given the security,” Bahal said.

The beneficiaries of VIP security are chosen by a committee comprising the home minister, home secretary, and officials of the Intelligence Bureau. Security is sometimes provided on the recommendation of state governments.

The CRPF has, meanwhile, written to the home ministry, protesting the decision to burden the force — whose main job is to fight Maoists — with the responsibility of protecting VIPs. The CRPF currently protects 30 individuals; 44 others are protected by the CISF, 17 by the NSG and 12 by ITBP. At least 20-25 personnel are deployed for a ‘Z continued…

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