Vadra may lose airport immunity

New Delhi :  The special privileges that Robert Vadra enjoyed in the UPA regime may be a thing of the past. Vadra’s name, for instance, figures in the list of VVIP passengers who are not to be frisked at airports. This immunity is likely to be reviewed, said officials of the civil aviation ministry and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security on Wednesday.

However, the final call on the matter will be taken by the Union Home Ministry which has to factor in the perceived threat perception before taking any such decision. “Security should be meaningful and not ornamental. The Home Ministry has to see if there is a threat perception, and I am not talking just about Vadra. They will then say what needs to be done,” said the new civil aviation minister.

Vadra is among the rare few civilians to be included in the list of those exempted from frisking provided they are accompanied by a person protected by the Special Protection Group. Sources said the decision to include his name in the ‘special list’ was taken by the UPA government.

“We are expecting the list of those exempted from frisking to get trimmed under the new NDA government,” a senior Bureau of Civil Aviation official told Times Now.

The channel’s online site quoted sources within the civil aviation ministry as saying that the earlier government had done everything within its means to scuttle RTI applications seeking information regarding the official noting made for the inclusion of Vadra’s name.

In a RTI reply to a transparency group RTI Anonymous, the home ministry had said Vadra’s name had been added to the list because he is the husband of an SPG-protected person Priyanka Gandhi.

However, the ministry refused to reveal why the relatives of other SPG-protected people were not given similar privileges.

The newly sworn-in Aviation Minister also added that there would be no hasty decision on the privatisation of Air India. He said that all issues will be examined and the new government is “not closed to any idea”. Later, he also said, “The state-run companies in several countries do function rather well. Somehow for us, it has not happened that way but we have to examine all aspects.”

Asked whether the new dispensation would probe all decisions taken by the previous UPA-II government, Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati said, “There is no point in dissecting or doing a post-mortem. We have to first formulate our own thinking about the issues.”

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