NEW DELHI: Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju today hinted that Robert Vadra's exemption from being frisked at domestic airports could soon be withdrawn as he described the hue and cry over his no-frisking status a "non-issue".
Wondering why Vadra did not seek to remove himself from the elite list of people who are not frisked at domestic airports, Raju said he should have raised the issue during the previous regime which had given him such a privilege.
"First of all, if you look at Vadra (issue), is it an issue? How does it serve the Indian citizen," he asked.
When questioned whether the government is looking to remove Vadra from the no-frisking list after his public outbursts over the issue, Raju said, "I think it is happening."
"Tell me, first of all it is a non-issue... what's so special about the guy that we should specially treat him. I don't think there is anything special.
"... As far as we are concerned, it is totally a non-issue," he said.
Taking potshots at Vadra for going public that he be removed from the no-frisking list, Raju said, "I wish he (Vadra) did when there was another type of government when he got those privileges".
"Had he any guts and what you call other things in him, that was the time to raise it," he said.
Noting that he has never talked about the Vadra issue, Raju said, "It is you (media) who talked about Vadra coming in there and all. Someday a government was there and the order was given. Probably a government today might give a different order".
For the second time in less than a week, Vadra yesterday pressed the government to take his name off the elite list.
"Plan to visit every terminal in the Airports in India and add a white tape on my name from the VVIP list and my signature on top !! So look out," Vadra had written in his status message on Facebook.
At present, Vadra is not frisked at airports if he travels with an SPG protectee. If he is removed from the elite list, he would be subjected to frisking at all airports even if he travels with an SPG protectee.
The issue of Vadra's exemption from frisking and checking at airport has been raised many times.