NEW DELHI: The central government has downgraded the security of eight VIPs, including RJD chief Lalu Prasad and two other senior politicians from Bihar, an official said on Monday.
The security cover of Lalu Prasad has been downgraded to 'Z' category from 'Z plus', said the Home Ministry official, adding that the Centre has also completely withdrawn the National Security Guard (NSG) cover being provided to Lalu Prasad by Black Cat commandos.
Former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's 'Z plus' security has also been downgraded to 'Z' category.
The decision was taken after a Union Home Ministry order issued on Sunday following a review of security cover for VIPs by the Union Home Ministry, informed sources said.
The security of Union Minister Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary, former Janata Dal-United President Sharad Yadav, former Chief Justice of India TS Thakur, former Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, former Chief Election Commissioner Syed Nasim Ahmad Zaidi and Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari have also been scaled down, said sources.
The 'Z' cover of Chaudhary has been scaled down to 'Y plus', entailing less manpower and other paraphernalia.
As part of his enhanced security cover, former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad was provided with two NSG and two Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) escort vehicles, along with eight NSG commandos.
However, with the implementation of the new order, Lalu Prasad is expected to have 35 CRPF commandos only. All the eight NSG bodyguards have been withdrawn, sources said.
In July this year, the Home Ministry had reportedly abolished the special facility being provided to Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi at Patna airport.
Lalu Prasad's son and Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the withdrawal of NSG security and said: "If anything happens to Lalu Prasadji, Modi will be responsible and blamed for it."