Ra­j­nath wants armed guards to ac­com­pany him on flights

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Tushar Sri­vas­tava tushar@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The home min­istry has sought the avi­a­tion min­istry’s per­mis­sion to al­low an armed se­cu­rity of­fi­cer to ac­com­pany Union home min­is­ter Ra­j­nath Singh on do­mes­tic com­mer­cial flights.

Sources said the re­quest was made in April in view of in­creased se­cu­rity threats to the home min­is­ter, who is one of the most heav­ily guarded politi­cians in the coun­try and has the top­most Z-plus cat­e­gory se­cu­rity cover. Singh’s mobile se­cu­rity cover in­cludes com­man­does from the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Guard.

“Per­mis­sion has been sought for the ac­com­pa­ny­ing PSO of the home min­is­ter to carry arms and am­mu­ni­tion on board com­mer­cial flights,” an aide of the home min­is­ter said.

The Bureau of Civil Avi­a­tion Se­cu­rity (BCAS), which re­ports to the avi­a­tion min­istry, is said to have opined ini­tially that only a se­lect group of VVIPs, in­clud­ing the Prime Min­is­ter, Pres­i­dent and those pro­tected by the Spe­cial Pro­tec­tion Group (SPG), are al­lowed to be ac­com­pa­nied by an armed PSO on board com­mer­cial flights.

“Th­ese are sen­si­tive se­cu­rity-re­lated is­sues. Car­ry­ing a weapon in­side an air­port or an air­craft re­quires a whole lot of clear­ances and co­or­di­na­tion be­tween var­i­ous agen­cies, air­port au­thor­i­ties and air­lines,” an of­fi­cial said.

Ra­j­nath Singh:

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