A combined total of 812 police officers and security personnel have been deployed for the security of 84 VIPs in Maharashtra, with 52 men accorded to guard only Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and his MLA daughter, a RTI query revealed here.
The information came in response to the query filed by Pune-based RTI activist Vihar Dhurve, who sought to know the total number of police and security force deployed for the protection of political and non-political VIPs in Maharashtra.
Sushilkumar Shinde and his daughter Praniti have been accorded Z-Plus security, and have a total of 52 security personnel guarding them, while Union Home Minister's wife Ujwala Shinde has been granted a Y-category security and has a total of 14 personnel for her security.
However, Praniti, while speaking to PTI said the security provided to her family was "unnecessary" and they want their security withdrawn.
"We are provided security as per protocol, but we have not asked for any security. We do not even use the security provided to us. I have even written a letter to the state Home Minister and the Director General of Police to withdraw our security. We want it to be used for better purposes," she said.
The 12 VIPs that are entitled to Z-plus category security include Maharashtra Governer K Sankaranarayanan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Home Minister R R Patil and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
While there are a total of 46 security personnel guarding Chavan, there are 31 for Ajit Pawar. 25 personnel are deployed for the security of PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray, MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria are among the 18 persons that have been granted Z-category security and have 15-22 personnel guarding them.
A total of 19 VIPs in Maharashtra that have been provided with Y-category security include Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, Samajwadi Party Maharashtra Unit President Abu Azmi, sitting Congress MP Milind Deora and former Petroleum Minister Murli Deora.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar has also been provided with Y-category security while Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata is among the 27 VIPs that have been provided with X-category security.
Both of them, however, have declined to accept any police protection.
Additional Commissioner of Security and Protection Branch Kiran Shelar said the protection to VIPs is provided on the instructions of the committee which reviews the security threat to them.
"There is a committee that makes an assessment and reviews the threat perception on VIPs frequently. Then committee then instructs us to provide security cover based on their assessment. No security is provided to anybody without specific orders from the committee," Shelar added.
Activist Vihar Durve, who obtained the information through RTI, has demanded that security cover for VIPs should be reduced and diverted to safeguard women.
"A large number of security contingent provided to VIPs is a cause of concern for the common man. Their security can be reduced and diverted to provide security to women and senior citizens. Public money should not be wasted on unnecessary security for VIPs," Durve said.