The Civil Aviation Ministry has no plans to remove the name of Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law Robert Vadra from the elite “no-frisking” list at domestic airports.
“We are not withdrawing Robert Vadra’s name from the list. It is not on our radar,” Minister of State for Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma told PTI today.
He was asked whether the Civil Aviation Ministry was taking Vadra’s name off the “no frisking” list.
As of now, Vadra is not frisked at airports if he travels with an SPG protectee. If he is removed from the elite list, he would be subjected to frisking at all airports even if he travels with an SPG protectee.
The issue of Vadra’s exemption from frisking and checking at airport has been raised many times.
Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju had last year said that the no-frisking list should be meaningful and not “ornamental”.
The current no-frisk list includes the President, Vice President, Prime Minister, Union Cabinet ministers, Leader of Opposition, Supreme Court judges, high court chief justices, chief ministers and their deputies, governors and ambassadors.
Those who are protected by the SPG, such as Vadra’s wife Priyanka Gandhi and brother-in-law Rahul Gandhi, are also not frisked.
The Home Ministry had recently asked the Civil Aviation Ministry to go ahead with its plan to review the list of 33 categories of people, including the Dalai Lama and Vadra.
The Home Ministry had said it did not consider the threat perception to Vadra serious enough to warrant his inclusion in the no-frisking list but advised the Civil Aviation Ministry to take a final call after consultation with the Special Protection Group, which guards his wife Priyanka.
The home ministry had reportedly left it to the aviation ministry to take a call on the issue as it was not in its ambit.