Govt withdraws no-frisking privileges for Robert Vadra at airports
Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra will no longer be exempted from pat downs at domestic airports, with the union civil aviation ministry on Wednesday removing him from the no-frisking list.india Updated: Sep 16, 2015 21:15 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra will no longer be exempted from pat downs at domestic airports, with the union civil aviation ministry on Wednesday removing him from the no-frisking list.
Minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma said the order was issued after Vadra himself asked to be removed from the list.
46-year old Vadra welcomed the government action in a post on his Facebook account and expressed the hope that there would be no more political controversies over the privilege extended to him.
"I appreciate that my name will not appear in the VVIP list anymore. I hope this is a dead issue now and will not be used against me," he said.
The government's order came two days after Vadra himself took a jibe at the Narendra Modi government for retaining his name in the VVIP list despiter making an issue out of it during the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign.
"Plans 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 .." he said in an FB post on Monday.
The no-frisking privilege is granted to constitutional figures and those who have elite Special Protection Group (SPG) cover, including Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi - the two top leaders of the Congress party - and her daughter Priyanka.
They are spared security checks that every other passenger has to go through at airports. BJP has repeatedly targeted Vadra over controversial land deals and accused him of abusing VIP security privileges granted to his wife.
Last week, the government had said that there were no plans to remove his name from the VIP list, prompting Vadra to allege a that there was a "conspiracy to malign his image."
"This is something Priyanka had herself asked for, Vadra had asker for...This is essentially an issue because of SPG rule book," Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, adding, "No one in the Congress or Vadra family or Gandhi family wanted it."