There has been a whopping 10,000% increase in the number of VIPs who have been provided with free state security from 2008 to 2012. From a measly 32 VIPs enjoying this privilege in 2008, the figure has risen up to 3,444 in 2012, according to information provided by the protection branch of the Mumbai police under the RTI Act.
“The information was provided by the public information officers and protection branch of the Mumbai police on October 18, 2012. We have no option but to believe that the figure was as low as 32 in 2008 as it is an official reply from the Mumbai police,” RTI activist Manoranjan Roy who sought the information told DNA. “The VIPs enjoyed state protection for free.”
The number of VIPs with state security protection was 32 even in 2009. The figure rose to 1,600 in 2010 but saw a slight dip the following year with 1,556 VIPs. From then, it doubled to 3,444 till October 2012.
Additional commissioner of police (protection) Madhukar Pandey feigned ignorance. “I am not aware what questions were asked and what answers were given. Therefore, I won’t be able to comment on it,” he said.
Security cover is provided on demand. Public representatives, however, are provided security cover for free. For others, the charges vary between Rs1,169 and Rs2,158 for an eight-hour shift. Prominent politicians who have been provided with high security cover by the state on its own include former CM Ashok Chavan andpublic works minister Chaggan Bhujbal among others.