Much to the surprise of his cabinet colleagues, Home Minister R R Patil has decided to cut down his security cover from Z+ to Y category.
According to sources from the government, he has forwarded the proposal to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan for final approval. The decision by the home minister comes at a time when the Supreme Court has taken up the issue of VIP security.
Patil was advised against his decision as he is the guardian minister of Naxal-hit Gadchiroli district. The hanging of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab also adds to the threat, he was advised. However, the minister stayed firm on his decision to downgrade his cover, said sources.
Asked about the change in security, Patil refused to comment. His decision has baffled his cabinet colleagues who enjoy round-the-clock police protection. Satej Patil, minister of state for home, has been accorded Z category cover and is believed to have expressed his surprise over his senior’s decision to downgrade the protection cover.
What triggered it?
The decision came after a review of the security cover being provided to VVIPs and VIPs in the state. Even the Supreme Court has sought details of security cover provided to people and the subsequent expenses. So far, no one from the state has come forward with a proposal to reduce security cover on his own. According to an official from Mantralaya, Patil decided to set a precedent.
Currently, a person with Z+ security cover enjoys a round-the-clock protection cover comprising 36 policemen, whereas a person under Y category gets 11 policemen. As per procedure, a periodic review is undertaken of the security cover and threat perceptions to people in the state.
A committee headed by chief secretary and comprising of additional chief secretary (home), submits its views to the home minister and the chief minister. Then, it’s up to the chief minister to accept or decline the recommendation of his cabinet colleague based on the threat perception and other factors.
Number of policemen deployed round-the-clock with a minister given Z+ security
Number of policemen deployed round-the-clock with a minister provided with Y security