November 13, 2005
So far, Nobel Laureate, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, is the only “individual” named in the list of “VVIPs/VIPs” who don’t have to go through a security check at domestic airports across the country.
Now there is a new name to that list: Shri Robert Vadra.
Son-in-law of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Vadra’s name was added to the list on September 28 in a circular issued nationwide by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
The list mentions that Vadra is exempted from security checks “while travelling with SPG (Special Protection Group) protectees.”
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As husband of Priyanka Gandhi, who is an SPG protectee like her mother and brother Rahul, Vadra does get SPG protection when he travels with either of them. But no other spouse or family member of any SPG protectee has been so named in the list. Vadra is the 23rd entry in the list, the other 22 identify positions and categories including President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, former PMs, Speaker, CJI, Leaders of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, CMs, Ambassadors and all SPG protectees.
Why is he the only spouse named in the list? BCAS Commissioner S R Mehra declined to comment despite a faxed questionnaire sent five days ago.
On November 10, when The Sunday Express contacted his office, Deputy Commissioner R D Gupta said: “We have no official reply. BCAS just took out the order as advised by the Ministry. Please talk to MCA Under Secretary L Haokip for clarification,” he said. When contacted by this newspaper Haokip refused to comment.
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