PATNA: Bihar has the most VIPs protected at public cost. Next is Punjab with 1,685 such VIPs, followed by 1,640 in West Bengal. The total strength of security forces in Bihar is 61,963—one constable for every 1,121 residents. The state government provides all MLAs and MLCs three constables each. Their deployment changes from day to day. Almost all top political leaders of the state, barring some from the Left, have security cover. All Opposition MLAs, MLCs and members of public commissions are guarded at the expense of the state exchequer, as are contractors, businessmen and office bearers of political parties. Former chief ministers as well as their family members get police protection. The Bihar Assembly has 243 MLAs and 75 MLCs. There are around 400 IAS and IPS officers serving in the state. In addition to this, there are about 200 other VIPs in different categories. Around 2,000 VIPs—ruling party leaders, contractors, businessmen with political connections—also enjoy police protection. A ball park figure calculation is around 10,000 security personnel acting as PSOs.
Ironically 59 per cent of Bihar MLAs (141 out of 243) have criminal records. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar himself has a special security detail comprised of special forces of Bihar Military Police, that includes commandos. Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi’s security is slightly better than that of other ministers; he travels with special escort vehicles and guards. According to a recent Home Ministry report, manpower for protection duty is drawn from available resources without a corresponding increase in sanctioned strength, straining the already limited manpower resources of the Bihar Police.
The report said that the 16,788 VIPs, who include mostly ministers, MPs, MLAs, judges and bureaucrats, were guarded by 50,059 policemen in 25 states and Union Territories in 2010 for six months or more. Interestingly, the sanctioned number was only 28,298 police personnel. The story was worse in 2009, when more than double the allotted strength of cops were deployed to provide security to 17,451 VIPs across the country. The allotted strength of policemen for VIP security that year was 23,637 but 47,355 police personnel were deployed to protect VIPs.