Security audit is not snooping: Jaitley in RS;

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Security audit is not snooping: Jaitley in RS;
The Hindu; 16-03-2015

Mr. Jaitley accused the Opposition of “making a mountain of what is not even a mole-hill”.

Faced with accusations of an effort to turn India into a police state like Pakistan, the Government on Monday told the Rajya Sabha that the controversial pro forma for VIPs has been in place since 1958 and such a security audit cannot be billed as snooping which is done undercover.

Raising the issue at the start of proceedings, the Opposition sought to remind the Government that this was not a partisan matter as the House had similarly expressed outrage over reports of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s telephone being tapped during UPA rule.

Intervening, Mr. Jaitley accused the Opposition of “making a mountain of what is not even a mole-hill” and pointed out that 526 MPs had filled up such a pro forma during UPA rule. The list of those who have been profiled in such a manner include Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he added.

As for questions like foot size and eye-colour being asked in the pro forma, Mr. Jaitley sought to remind the members that a former Prime Minister’s body had been identified by his shoe. According to him, Delhi Police has been profiling protected people since the late 1950s and this particular form has been in use since 1999.

The issue was first raised by Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad in the context of such a security audit being conducted at the residence of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Questioning the nature of information sought by the police, he wanted to know if this was being used by the Government to intimidate politicians.

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