An average of 27,010 police personnel were engaged in bandobast duty for VIPs visiting Mumbai every year between 2008 and 2012, according to information obtained under the Right to Information Act.
The numbers assume importance considering the fact that the force grapples with shortage of staff almost at all times. The data was provided to RTI activist Vihar Durve by the Mumbai Police.
The number of police personnel deployed during VIP visits ranges from 24,820 a year in 2008 to 28,470 in 2012. In 2013, till February, the number of such cops was 27,740.
Durve had also sought to know how many policemen were guarding the VIPs in the city. To this, the reply put the number at 70. However, Durve feels the numbers can be contested.
“They did not provide me the complete list. They have listed several cabinet ministers and even opposition leaders and a majority of them have been just provided just two personnel. These VIPs include cabinet ministers Harshvardhan Patil, Madhukar Chavan and Suresh Shetty.”
Durve said the reply is silent on VIPs, who have been provided Z and Z+ security – such as Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and minister Arif Naseem Khan.”
The RTI activist said maximum deployment of personnel happen for such protectees.
PAG takes note of activist’s concerns
Meanwhile, the office of the Principal Accountant General has informed Durve that it has noted his concerns about no observations made in audit reports with regard to deployment of the police for VIP bandobast duty, female foeticide, display of boards indicating cost of construction at toll plazas and missing files at the Bombay High Court.
The office of the PAG has stated that the issues raised are suggestive in nature and they would be appropriately seen during the inspection of the respective auditable offices. Durve had sought reasons with regard to the non-inclusion of observations regarding the above mentioned subjects.