NEW DELHI: A high-level meeting of the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA), which is to be convened on Wednesday, is likely to review the VIP security cover to the various political leaders and other individuals sanctioned by the previous UPA Government.
Consequently, the enhanced security cover provided to people like former Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma, BSP Rajya Sabha MP Brajesh Pathak, former Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari, which was okayed during former Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s tenure, may be downgraded by the NDA Government. Similarly, the security cover for former Union Home Minister Buta Singh and former Congress MP Avtar Singh Bhadana could be scaled down.
The names of over 16 politicians and high-risk individuals were added to the MHA’s VIP security list in the last two years. Sources said the new government is likely to take a decision on upgrading and scaling down the security cover after reviewing the ‘Yellow Book, regarding the threat perception to the current protectees. ‘Yellow Book’ is a top secret document containing the details of the security arrangement for individuals and is referred while withdrawing, upgrading or downgrading security of the Central protectees.
Sources said the meeting is likely to review the security of former UPA Ministers on the basis of the recent comprehensive assessment of threat by the security and intelligence agencies. Although, the Centre may want to trim the VIP security culture, it will consider the intelligence report before arriving at a final decision.
“The previous UPA regime had included several politicians in the Z+ protectees list, which is likely to be reviewed by the government and accordingly a decision to scale down might be taken. The Protection Review Group (PRG) and Security Categorisation Committee (SCC) will also examine the fresh intelligence report about the politicians, who joined Council of Ministers,” they said.
Currently, at least 376 VIPs are covered as Central protectees and 83 persons are provided cover as local protectees here.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court last year, the Centre had revealed that the the security provided to VIPs had cost the exchequer Rs 341 crore. And it also included the data received from the states.
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