Reacting to reports that her husband Robert Vadra may no longer get an exemption from being frisked at airports, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra shot off a letter to the Special Protection Group chief, Durga Prasad, on Friday demanding that the withdrawal of privileges be implemented immediately for her entire family.
According to top Congress sources, Priyanka wrote to Prasad, stating that she, her children and her husband be treated like ordinary passengers at airports when travelling together as a family.
Priyanka Vadra (C) and Robert Vadra arrive at a polling booth in New Delhi. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)
She also stated that she had never asked for this special treatment, and that it was extended by the SPG on operational grounds.
“I would like to bring to your notice that his (Vadra) inclusion on that list came about at the instance of your predecessors in the SPG / Delhi Police and not upon any request by either of us who were informed after the fact. It was done ostensibly to facilitate the coordination of the two separate security agencies at the airport when we travelled together,” she wrote.
Priyanka also communicated that she was unhappy that this issue had been “politicised needlessly”.
Instead, she was happy to be frisked at airports like other commuters at the security clearance, and her husband had expressed the same view on several instances.
“Ever since then, it has been a source of constant embarrassment for my husband, who has asked me on numerous occasions to have it removed as, in any case, he goes through the full security check and procedure from the normal channel every time he is travelling on his own.”
The letter comes at a time when the new civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju Pusapati has hinted at removing the special status extended to Robert Vadra while travelling with Priyanka.
“Since the government is now reportedly considering the removal of his name, I would like to inform you that I do not feel it will be correct for my children and me to avail of the facility of exemption of these checks while entering or exiting the airport when we are all travelling together,” Priyanka wrote.
According to the rules, Robert Vadra is exempted from security checks when he travels with SPG-protected family members. When he travels on his own, he has to pass through customary security clearances.