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Govt to review issues relating to VIPs' security

The Centre is also considering a proposal for creating a dedicated force for giving security to VIPs.

india Updated: Jun 18, 2006 13:51 IST

An expert committee has been set up by the government to review issues relating to security cover for VIPs and examine whether the Centre can play a role in case someone, who has been receiving threats, is denied protection by a state government.

The committee will also submit to Home Minister Shivraj Patil its recommendations on ways to make security "less obtrusive" and whether cost of protection provided by the state should be shared by the people enjoying the cover, official sources said on Sunday.

The Centre is also considering a proposal for creating a dedicated force for giving security to VIPs.

The decision to establish the expert committee was taken at a recent high-level meeting chaired by the Home Minister.

Headed by PV Bhide, Additional Secretary looking after Centre-State relations in the Home Ministry, the Committee will give its suggestions on the role the Centre can play in case a person, who has received threats, is not extended protection on grounds which may be political or for other reasons including differences of views on threat perception.

Another issue the Committee will examine is whether there should be cost sharing of tax payers' money on security cover by those who are being extended state protection.

The sources, however, made it clear that VIPs, who have been assessed by security agencies as possible targets of terrorists and organised mafia, would not be charged for the protection.

The expert committee, which will seek views from various security agencies, is expected to submit its report within a sort span of time.

Other members of the panel besides Bhide will be named soon.

The Committee has also been asked to give recommendations to make security less obtrusive and less disturbing for the common people.

Besides Patil, the meeting which had deliberated on various issues of VIP security cover including threat perception, was attended among others by Home Secretary VK Duggal and Intelligence Bureau Director ESL Narasimhan.

On the issue of raising an exclusive force for VIP security, other than the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) which provides cover to the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and Congress President Sonia Gandhi and her family, the sources said the proposal was being looked into to reduce dependence on a multiplicity of agencies and paramilitary forces.

This proposal, which was also discussed at the meeting, related to setting up a single specialised force possibly under the command of paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is at present giving protection to important people.

The official said the proposal has also been made in the wake of increasing demand from people, mainly those in politics, for security cover which could put additional pressure on the forces.

The sources said by having a single force dedicated to VIP security, the burden on paramilitary and police forces would be considerably reduced and they would be able to discharge the functions they are required to carry out.

Paramilitary forces like 'Black Cat' commandos of National Security Guards, CISF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police and Central Reserve Police Force besides local police forces like Delhi Police are extending VIP protection.

First Published: Jun 18, 2006 13:51 IST