Not On The ‘VVIP List’, But Here’s How Robert Vadra Can (Still) Skip Airport Security

Posted on December 17, 2015 in Politics, Society

By Rakesh Dubbudu, IndiaSpend.com:

Robert Vadra, son in law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, continues to be officially exempt from security checks at airports, according to a right-to-information (RTI) response received from the government by data journalism site factly.in.

This contradicts reports in September that Vadra’s name has been removed from what is called the “no-frisk list”.

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.My Best wishes.

Posted by Robert Vadra on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

While the latest list of those exempt from security checks does not have Vadra’s name on it, in comparison to the old list, there is an additional note on the new list that allows him to bypass security–if he so chooses.

“The accompanying spouse of the above said VVIPs/VIPs is also exempted from pre-embarkation security checks at all civil airports in the country,” the new note said.

This means that if Vadra accompanies his wife Priyanka Gandhi, who is protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG), he is still exempted from pre-embarkation checks.

As many as 32 categories of people are exempt from pre-embarkation security checks at India’s civilian airports, said the RTI response received by factly.in. Such exemptions are granted:

  • On the basis of Protocol
  • On the basis of reciprocity/bilateral agreement in respect of foreign dignitaries
  • On the basis of Security ground.

Here’s who is exempt from security checks at Indian airports, according to the latest list:

  • President
  • Vice President
  • Prime Minister
  • Governors of states
  • Former Presidents
  • Former Vice Presidents
  • Chief Justice of India
  • Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • Union Ministers of Cabinet rank
  • Chief Ministers of States
  • Deputy Chief Ministers of states
  • Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission
  • Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
  • Holders of Bharat Ratna awards
  • Ambassadors of foreign countries, charge D’ Affairs and High Commissioners and their spouses
  • Judges of Supreme Court
  • Chief Election Commissioner
  • Comptroller & Auditor General of India
  • Deputy Chairman Rajya Sabha and Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha
  • Ministers of State of the Union Council of Ministers
  • Attorney General of India
  • Cabinet Secretary
  • Lt Governors of union territories
  • Chiefs of staffs holding the rank of full General or equivalent rank
  • Chief Justices of the High Courts
  • Chief Ministers of union territories
  • Deputy Chief Ministers of union territories
  • Visiting Foreign dignitaries of the same status as president, chief justice, governors, former presidents and vice presidents.
  • The Dalai Lama
  • SPG Protectees
  • Spouse of the President of India is exempt from pre-embarkation security checks at all civil airports even when he/she is not accompanying the President
  • Former Prime Ministers of India

Note: The Accompanying spouse of the above said VVIPs/VIPs is also exempted from pre-embarkation security checks at all civil airports in the country

The Special Protection Group (SPG) is one of eight central armed police forces of India. It was created in 1988 by an act of the Parliament of India for “providing proximate security to the Prime Minister (PM) of India and former Prime Minister of India and members of their immediate families”.

Family of a serving PM may decline security. Former PMs and their immediate family may also, if they choose, decline SPG security.

This article was originally published on IndiaSpend.com, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

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