Less than a week after the Civil Aviation Ministry said it had no plans to remove Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra from the elite "no-frisking" list at domestic airports, the ministry went ahead and did the exact opposite thing on Wednesday.
Robert Vadra has now been removed from the "no-frisking" list, which 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.
"We are not withdrawing Robert Vadra's name from the list. It is not on our radar," Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Sharma had told PTI on 10 September.
However, on Wednesday, Sharma said, "The previous government gave Vadra the facility only when he was travelling with an SPG protectee. Now, he has himself asked to be removed from the list."
"The government has revised the list of no-frisking passengers at the domestic airports, and Vadra's name is not on it," a civil aviation ministry spokesperson said.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan on Wednesday alleged that the government had played petty politics over the issue. "Nobody in the Congress party or the Gandhi family wanted it. Even during UPA government rule...Priyanka Gandhi had said they did not want this. This is petty politics that this government has been playing," he told Times Now.
In response, Mahesh Sharma said, "There is no politics. Where is the politics? He himself said he did not want to consider himself as a VVIP. So, the government removed him from the list."
Robert Vadra himself said on Facebook that he was happy with this decision.
Vadra had been demanding his name be taken off the "no-frisking" list for a long time and had been putting up dramatic posts (to put it mildly) on Facebook on the same issue.
On 10 September, after the Civil Aviation Ministry had said that it had no plans to take Vadra off the "no-frisk" list, Vadra's next Facebook post got even more dramatic as he claimed that he would "visit every terminal in the Airports in India and add a white tape on my name from the VVIP list and my signature on top."
(With inputs from PTI)
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Updated Date: Sep 16, 2015 21:44:46 IST