Beni Prasad Verma among 6 VVIPs to get Z-plus security - The New Indian Express

Beni Prasad Verma among 6 VVIPs to get Z-plus security

Published: 11th March 2013 07:37 AM

Last Updated: 11th March 2013 08:20 AM

Thanks to the top secret Yellow Book of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Union Minister for Steel Beni Prasad Verma, BSP MP Brajesh Pathak and four others will have 36 personnel on Z-plus security -- mostly drawn from the elite National Security Guard (NSG) -- wielding Swiss SIG 551 rifles and marching in long red beaconed motorcade.

Yellow Book is a secret document containing details of the security arrangements for individuals and is referred while withdrawing, upgrading or downgrading security of central protectees.  The six new entrants to the elite group of VVIPs covered under Z-plus had conveyed to the MHA that they were receiving threat calls and needed enhanced security cover, the burden of which will be borne by taxpayers.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde readily obliged to the requests. Interestingly, Verma’s two earlier requests were turned down by the Protection Review Group and Security Categorisation Committee (SCC) when P Chidambaram was the Home Minister as he wanted to trim down the VVIP security and phase out NSG-specialised counter-terror force from the VIP duty. “Verma had claimed he was getting threat calls and hence threat perception was reviewed. On the basis of SCC recommendation, his security was upgraded. This is on periodic basis and it could be reduced in future. Last year, the government wanted to review the security given to the VVIPs, but it was shelved after strong protest from politicians,” sources said.

The move is also contrary to a Supreme Court order in the backdrop of the Delhi gangrape case.

The apex court had slammed the government for diverting security meant for law and order to protect VIPs. The government had told the court that 376 VIPs were covered as central protectees and 83 as local protectees in the national capital. In an affidavit before the Supreme Court, the government had mentioned an expenditure of `341 crore incurred on VIP security.

The government affidavit revealed that 8,049 police personnel were involved in VIP security as against 3,448 in crime prevention and investigation. However, it did not disclose the list of people enjoying Z-plus security and separately gave it to the court in a sealed cover.

The Z-plus protectees get commandos from the NSG, CISF and Indo-Tibetan Border Police. Apart from Z-plus, three other categories -- Z, Y and X -- provide 22, 11 and two armed personnel respectively to high-risk individuals.

Sources said around 19 VIPs have security cover of the elite Black Cat commandos of the NSG.

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