Days after asking the government to remove his name from the elite ‘no-frisking’ list at the airports, Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, on Monday expressed that that he wants to add a white tape on his name from the VVIP list.
Vadra wrote on Facebook, “Plans to visit every terminal in the Airports in India and add a white tape on my name from the VVIP list and my signature on top !!”
In a statement released earlier, Vadra maintained that he has never used this “privilege” and does not need it and that he should be treated as any other normal citizen of the country.
“I am clear but wish the concerned authorities would understand that I am not a VVIP or a VIP,” Vadra said in a statement here against the backdrop of the government saying that it has no plans to remove him from the ‘no-frisking’ list.
The ‘no-frisking’ privilege, enjoyed by SPG protectees like Vadra’s wife Priyanka Gandhi and Constitutional dignitaries, saves them from the requirement of going through security checks at airports. Vadra’s name has cropped up several times with regard to whether he should enjoy the facility.
Responding to Vadra’s insistence on no frisking, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said he should have written to him rather than bringing up the matter through Facebook.
“Let Mr Vadra give in writing that he doesn’t want to be included in the VIP list, I will remove his name in 3 days. Rather than writing on Facebook, he could have written to me,” Sharma said.
As of now, Vadra is not frisked at airports if he travels with an SPG protectee. If he is removed from the elite list, he would be subjected to frisking at all airports even if he travels with an SPG protectee.
The issue of Vadra’s exemption from frisking and checking at airport has been raised many times.
Significantly, government had recently said that there were no plans to remove his name from the list.
“We are not withdrawing Robert Vadra’s name from the list. It is not on our radar,” Sharma had said.
Vadra in a statement last Saturday questioned why his name was not being removed from the elite ‘no-frisking’ list at airports and wondered if it was a “conspiracy” to malign his image.
“I have .. given my consent to remove my name from this list many times. My conduct says it, but apparently the analysis disclosed by the government on my threat perception, allegedly says I am not required to be on this list,” he said, adding “so why double standards in removing my name from the VVIP list?”
The current no-frisk list includes 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, such as Vadra’s 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.