New Delhi: Already flooded with requests for central security cover from more VIPs, the Union Home Ministry is facing a surge in similar pleas from VIPs in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab after the state governments withdrew security. Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said trimming of security cover given to VIPs by the state governments had led to the sudden rush of people approaching his ministry for security cover after they apprehended threat to their lives.
"Both Uttar Pradesh and Punjab governments have reviewed their security (for people under VIP security cover). These people are across the board and from all walks of life including those with political affiliations. They are now approaching us (MHA) to accord the security cover," Shinde said.
He, however, made it clear that any increase in the number of people to be given central security would be done only after analysing the threat perception to the person concerned. "There is no increase in the number of people getting VIP security (from MHA) and whosoever is given this cover...it is strictly based on threat perception to the person which is analysed by security agencies," he said.
An increasing number of politicians are getting the "Z-plus" security and the prominent new entrants include Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma and BSP MP Brajesh Pathak while many other MLAs and government functionaries from various states are being given various categories of security. The development comes months after the list of VIPs in this category was substantially pruned during P Chidambaram's tenure as Home Minister.
The former Home Minister himself is also very frugal in taking security cover. Verma was provided with the enhanced security cover after he claimed he was receiving threatening calls.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has already been accorded 'Z+' security by 'black cat' commandos of NSG, while Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh will soon get the same. Delhi has the highest number of security personnel on VIP-guard duties in the country after Punjab and more than a dozen policemen guard each of the 427 VIPs, who are being given security in the national capital.
According to the 'Data on Police Organisations in India-2012', prepared by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), there is one policeman in Delhi for every 253 common citizens, while there are 5,183 policemen deployed for giving protection to 427 high-profile people in Delhi. The protected persons include ministers, MPs, MLAs, judges and bureaucrats.
The report showed that for 14,842 protected people nation wide, 47,557 police personnel have been deputed for their security for more than six months at a stretch. In an affidavit submitted before Supreme Court, government has submitted that its total budget for VIP security for the current financial year is Rs 341 crore.