Wed, 12 Aug, 2020

Government’s gatecrashing guests

Recently, a man from UP masqueraded as the minister for cooperation of Uttar Pradesh and enjoyed state hospitality for over ten days before being caught. Even though the situation seemed funny, it exposed some serious lapses in security and protocol of the state

15th January 2020, 02:12 Hrs


Recent news that brought a mix of amusement and shock to the state was that a man posed as a minister from Uttar Pradesh and enjoyed state hospitality at government guest houses for around 12 days.It was learnt that the man submitted fake documents and even presented elaborate fake emails to gain credibility. The accused also met Goa Cooperation Minister Govind Gawade in the ministerial block and discussed various issues related to the department. This incident has raised a number of questions. Why do such kind of lapses happen? How do we ensure such lapses do not happern again?

Recent security incidents in India

n In 2018, a major security breach was detected at Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi where six Rajasthani men had been working as gardeners for over a year with fake degrees. It took more than a year before the government learned that their degrees were fake. The men were then detained.  

n In 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy was stuck in traffic as the police car that was supposed to guide the convoy took a wrong turn. Upon th incident, traffic police personnel rushed to the spot and cleared the way. Following the incident, a police sub-inspector and a driver who were in the lead car were suspended. 

n On November 25 2019, a black SUV owned by a Congress worker was allowed through the gates of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s residence without any security check. The matter gained importance as the incident took place days after the Gandhi’family’s security was downgraded from SPG to Z-plus. The home minister said that the security breach at Priyanka Gandhi’s residence was coincidental. Three officers in-charge of Priyanka Gandhi’s security were suspended

Types of VIP security 

in India

n SPG category – Strength of security detail is classified (only provided to the Prime Minister of India.)

n Z+ category has a security cover of 55 personnel [Including over 10 NSG commandos and  police personnel]

n Z category has a security cover of 22 personnel [Including 4 or 5 NSG commandos and police personnel]

n Y category has a security cover of 11 personnel [Including 1 or 2 commandos and  police personnel]

n X category has a security cover of 2 personnel [No commando, only armed police personnel]

The situation appears to be funny as well as serious on account that it exposes Goa’s vulnerability. When a person claims to be a minister, and the government accepts it without condition, it seems weird. According to protocol, if a person in power wants to visit any state, the protocol department of one state contacts its counterpart in the other state. That exercise does not seem to have happened here. This is indeed a cause of concern.

—Ramakant Khalap, former Union Minister for Law 

GIven that Goa is an international tourist destination, there is a very high possibility of such impersonators visiting the state. In the light of such possibilities, the state administration should be more vigilant and carry out proper checking of official IDs of such state guests. 

— Narendra Sawaikar, 

former South Goa MP

Points of concern

n Goa witnesses a number of VIPs visiting the state for various reasons, A report published in early 2019 noted that while there has been no significant incidents of VIP security breach in Goa, the state does have a major drawback :The lack of a bulletproof vehicle. When VIPs entitled to bulletproof vehicles come visiting, the state has to requisition such vehicle from neighbouring states. In case such a vehicles is unavailable, giving fool-proof security becomes difficult. 

While the recent incident has generated considerable discussion, there are no reports as yet of any action being taken on the persons responsible for the security breach. 

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