The Ministry of Civil Aviation has removed Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, from the list of people who are exempted from security checks at airports across the country.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju approved the order revoking the no-frisking privilege to Vadra late Tuesday evening. The order will now be forwarded to the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security for implementation.
Earlier, at a media briefing Tuesday, Raju said, “It (removing Robert Vadra from the list) is happening. What’s so special about that guy that he should be treated specially? I don’t think there is anything special.” Earlier this month, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma had said that Vadra would not be removed from the list.
Vadra is on a list of 33 categories of people who are exempted from pre-flight security checks at civilian airports in the country. The privilege is available only when he travels with those who are given cover by the Special Protection Group (SPG), which includes Sonia, his wife Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Rahul Gandhi.
Vadra has, in recent times, taken to social networking website Facebook to express his willingness to give up the privilege. In May 2014, Priyanka had reportedly written to the SPG demanding that the withdrawal of privileges be implemented immediately for her entire family. She also communicated her unhappiness over this issue being “politicised needlessly”.
During Tuesday’s briefing, Raju said, “It (removing Vadra from the list) is a non-issue but I wish he did (abrogate) when there was another type of government when he got those privileges. Had he any guts and what you call other things in him, that was the time to raise it.” In October last year, the Ministry of Civil Aviation had written to the Ministry of Home Affairs to carry out a threat perception check of the categories of exempted people and sought its views on pruning the list. The Home Ministry, in its reply in July this year, approved removing Vadra’s name from the list.