Both, the Union home ministry and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) have refused to provide file notings that led to the waiving off of pre-embarkation security checks to businessman Robert Vadra and Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama which is still in force.
The MHA gave a contradictory reply when it said on one hand that the matter may be examined in consultation with other central security agencies, on the other hand, it declined outright the sought information as being exempt under Section 24 (1) of the RTI Act.
“It is surprising how providing free and privileged access to some selected persons including certain individuals without any security checks can prejudicially affect security,” said RTI activist Subhash Agrawal.
The BCAS also refused to provide a copy of the 2009 order and other related and sought documents on the ground that they were restricted documents relating to civil aviation security which is not open to public on security grounds and exempted under Section 8 (1) (a) of the RTI Act.
Meanwhile Agrawal is awaiting information from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation sought on the basis of a media report that an Airbus 380 was towed away after its maiden landing in Delhi airport in October 2008 to facilitate a test flight of the business-class Falcon 900EX by Vadra.
Vadra, a businessman and son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, has been in the news because of allegations by activist-turned politician Arvind Kejriwal that he engaged in profitable land deals which benefited private companies on a quid pro quo basis.
In 2005, the government had prepared a list of individuals who are exempt from security frisking in airports. The list includes the President, the Prime Minister, former presidents and PMs and SPG protectees besides Supreme Court judges etc.