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Bengal CM still has rly police cover

Almost three months into office, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a Z-plus protectee, retains the Railway Protection Force (RPF) for her security.

india Updated: Aug 08, 2011 03:05 IST
Surbek Biswas

Almost three months into office, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, a Z-plus protectee, retains the Railway Protection Force (RPF) for her security.

The RPF, however, is not trained for VIP protection and its charter of duties does not allow it to carry out such a responsibility.

Banerjee is the only chief minister in the country who uses the RPF for security duty. For others with a high threat perception — Mayawati, Jayalalithaa, Narendra Modi and Omar Abdullah — the National Security Guards (NSG), which specialise in VIP security, is deployed.

Banerjee had been using the RPF since her days as the railway minister. But it is not definite whether she, as a chief minister, is entitled to do so.

In 2010, when Banerjee was the railway minister, the Union home ministry had issued an order for the deployment of RPF to protect her, said Virendra, the director (security) in West Bengal. But no further order had been issued from the ministry since.

Ranjit Sinha, former director general of RPF, had raised the issue of "illegal deployment of RPF" for Banerjee's security. He was transferred from the post on May 19 — a day before Banerjee was sworn in as the chief minister.

Currently, 75 to 80 RPF personnel are deployed for Banerjee's security.

Though 18 RPF commandos are on 'house guard duty' for the chief minister, none accompanies her convoy when she moves around the city.

Four commandos always accompanied the convoy of former chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

P K Mehta, the present director general of the RPF, refused to comment on the matter.

Naparajit Mukherjee, director general of police, told HT: "I do not know much about this."