The Central government is all set to review this week the security of “VIPs” and politicians enjoying the highest bodyguard cover being provided by the government under four categories: ‘Z-plus’, ‘Z’, ‘X’ and ‘Y’, a Home Ministry official said.
A high-level committee headed by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will examine the security facilitated to VIPs and politicians by the commandos of National Security Guard (NSG) and other paramilitary forces like Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The official said there is a possibility of massive cut in the VIP security of many former Chief Ministers, MPs and opposition leaders on the basis of intelligence inputs regarding threat perceptions to them.
The security of many VIPs may be downgraded after the committee reviews the intelligence inputs of every individual, the official said.
Those who enjoy the highest ‘Z-plus’ category security include former Chief Ministers Lalu Prasad (Bihar), Mulayam Singh Yadav, Akhilesh Yadav and Mayawati (Uttar Pradesh), and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Tarun Gogoi (Assam).
Around 20 security personnel guard a Z-plus protectee, 15 guard a Z category protectee and the number gradually go down with X and Y category protectee. Around 75 VIPs are guarded by the CRPF, 70 by the CISF, 15 by the ITBP, 12 by NSG and around 200 by the Delhi Police.
VIP security has always been under scrutiny as it consumes the precious manpower needs of the country’s security forces.
Recipients of the Z-plus security cover provided by the government also includes Bharatiya Janata Party President Amit Shah, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Union Ministers like Arun Jaitley.
The level of security cover usually depends on the threat perception. Currently, there are four different levels, starting with Special Protection Group (SPG) cover, which is provided to the Prime Minister and his family and former Prime Ministers and their family members. The Gandhi family still moves with SPG cover.
The SPG is a specially trained elite security force with members from paramilitary forces. The Z-plus security cover comes next and it is provided by NSG and CISF. The next level is Z security cover provided by ITBP and CRPF. The next two categories are Y and X.
According to a 2012 report of the Bureau of Police Research and Development, 47,557 personnel are protecting 14,842 VIPs across the country.