Robert Vadra's name will most likely be deleted from the list of passengers who are not to be frisked at airports, said officials of the civil aviation ministry and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) on Wednesday. The order for the deletion is expected to be issued by the new government which is scheduled to assume charge on Monday.
Vadra, a controversial businessman and Congress president Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law, is the only civilian to be included in the list of those exempted from frisking provided he is accompanied by a person being protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG). Sources said the decision to include his name was taken by the UPA government.
"We are expecting the list of those exempted from frisking to get trimmed under the new NDA government," said a senior BCAS official.
Highly-placed sources within the civil aviation ministry said the earlier government did everything possible to scuttle any RTI application seeking information regarding the official noting made for the inclusion of Vadra's name. "The special exemption made to Vadra was wrong. But we hope things change now," said a senior ministry official.
In an RTI reply to a transperancy group RTI Anonymous, the home ministry had said Vadra has been added because he's the husband of an SPG-protected person, Priyanka Gandhi. However, the ministry, under the veil of the law, refused to reveal why the relatives of other SPG-protected people were not given similar privileges.
The issue has been gaining traction for the last many years, with several advocacy groups taking up the matter at the political and ministry level. Even Air Passengers Association of India, a group representing air travellers in the country, recently wrote to the ministry seeking an explanation for it.
Vadra became the point of target during the election campaigning by NDA under then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi for special treatment given to him at airports and also over his alleged land dealings, which BJP described as major scams.