This Article is From Sep 16, 2015

Robert Vadra's 'No Frisking' Privileges at Airports Withdrawn

File photo of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra

New Delhi: Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, will no longer be spared security checks at airports. The government has withdrawn Mr Vadra's no-frisking privileges, which had generated much controversy and debate.

"Fantastic. I am happy with what they have done," was Mr Vadra's first response after the aviation ministry's orders.

He later went on Facebook to comment: "I appreciate that my name will not appear in the VVIP list anymore. I hope this is a dead issue now and will not be used against me."

Two days ago, Mr Vadra had used another Facebook post to convey that he wanted to be off the list of VIPs exempt from frisking at airports.

"Plans to 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 !! So look out ...." Mr Vadra posted.

The no-frisking privilege is granted to constitutional figures and those who have elite Special Protection Group (SPG) cover, including Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi - the two top leaders of the Congress party - and her daughter Priyanka Vadra, who is married to Robert Vadra. They are spared the security checks that every other passenger has to go through at the airport.

Mr Vadra, a businessman, has been repeatedly targeted by the ruling BJP over controversial land deals and was accused of abusing VIP security privileges granted to his wife.

Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State for Civil Aviation, said: "The previous government gave Mr Vadra the facility only for when he was travelling with an SPG protectee, now he has himself asked to be removed from the list."

After the government last week said there were no plans to remove his name from the VIP list, Mr Vadra alleged a "conspiracy to malign his image."

"Maybe I need to personally go to every airport and delete my name. Will that work? Or is it a part of a larger conspiracy to malign my image? I am humble and as normal as any citizen. So please treat me like one," Mr Vadra posted.