Amidst the hue and cry over the number of police personnel on VIP security detail across the country, information obtained through a Right to Information application has shown that the security provided at the home of the Maharashtra chief minister has increased significantly in the last two years.
According to the information procured by the applicant, Chetan Kothari, the CM’s official bungalow, Varsha, had three officers and 31 police personnel guarding it in 2010. That figure has now jumped to three officers and 48 police personnel. The information was provided by Protection Branch 2 of the Mumbai Police and pertains to the period 2010 to 2012.
The highest number of security personnel on VIP security duty was recorded when former CM Ashok Chavan continued to occupy Varsha and Prithviraj Chavan had started to operate from Sahyadri, the state guest house.
In the state Cabinet, Harshwardhan Patil, minister for cooperatives, has the largest posse of securitymen — six policemen with an escort. Eknath Khadse, BJP MLA and leader of Opposition, enjoys a security detail of the same size.
At Matoshree, the protection has remained the same as per the details. Three officers and six police personnel continue to guard the Shiv Sena party leader’s residence from 2010 till 2012.
While the CM’s public relations officer and Patil’s office did not respond to queries, Khadse said he had received underworld threats some time back. “The police held a meeting and decided to provide me with escort. It is as per their decision and not my demand.”
While the number of dignitaries for whom security is provided has reduced, the number of personnel on security detail has risen marginally from 12 officers and 168 police personnel in 2010 to 13 officers and 170 police personnel.