Fifteen Congress leaders are among 42 politicians and government-appointees whose security has been downgraded, according to a recent central government security assessment.
Among the Congress leaders who had Y-plus security are former Defence Minister A K Antony, AICC general secretary Ajay Maken, former leader of Opposition in Gujarat Arjun Modhwadia, Lok Sabha MP Shashi Tharoor and former Union minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.
Antony’s security has been dowgraded to Y-category, as also the cover given to Maken, Shakeel Ahmad, Tharoor and former MP Vijay Inder Singla, according to sources privy to the decisions taken after the review.
Maulana Syed Kalbe Sadiq, who is the vice-president of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, has been put under R&AW security as he has declined security, the sources said.
The Special Protection Group (SPG), the National Security Guards (NSG), the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the CRPF are the agencies responsible for providing security to VVIPs, VIPs, certain central officials, celebrities and sportspersons.
The sources told The Indian Express that the decision to alter the security grade was taken recently after the intelligence agencies conducted an assessment of all 42 persons. “The threat perception to VIPs is reviewed periodically by intelligence agencies and other security agencies. Based on their recommendations, the decision was taken to upgrade or downgrade the security cover,” the source said.
The Y-plus cover for Rajya Sabha MP Rajiv Shukla is set to be downgraded to X, and Modhwadia’s security cover has been withdrawn.
Among those who had been given X-category cover, the security of eight persons has been withdrawn. Of them, three are Congress leaders — Girija Vyas, the ailing Priya Ranjan Das Munshi and R P N Singh.
Depending on the level of threat, security is classified into five levels — Z+, Z, Y+, Y and X — with Z+ the highest security level and X the lowest. Leaders with Z+ security are guarded by 36 personnel and Z category have a security strength of 22 personnel.
Those with Y+ security have 11 personnel along with three personal security officers (PSOs) guarding them round the clock. Those with Y-grade cover also have 11 personnel guarding them along with two personal security officers (PSOs) but the PSO are deployed for 12 hours. X category allows a cover of two personnel.
“The Y-plus category of two Trinamool Congress MP Sisir Kumar Adhikari and Suvendu Adhikari would be withdrawn. Security cover of S K Sikka, the scientific consultant, Justice Suresh Kumar Kait and P C Halder, former Director of IB, was also withdrawn,” the source added.
The Centre has downgraded the Y-category security cover for the former editor of Anand Bazar Patrika, Aveek Sarkar to X category.
The security of the BJP MP from Kurukshetra, Raj Kumar Saini, was stepped down to X category. “The CISF cover of X category was withdrawn of former Congress MLC Dinesh Pratap Singh and suspended Aam Aadmi Party leader Kapil Mishra,” the sources added.
Sources said after removing the security cover of Y-plus category of former Union minister Beni Prasad Verma, who had left Congress to join the Samajwadi Party, and senior IAS official Chinmay P Gotmare, the home ministry has asked their state to provide security cover to them.