Friday, July 4, 2014

The life of Sheila

Lalu Prasad ...has Z Plus security cover with NSG commandos guarding him....even when he was pronounced convicted in fodder scam and put inside Birsa Munda jail. The NSG, of course could not stay inside the jail. The commandos were back on duty once he was released on bail.

This (and many others) can be made into a fine Monty Python sketch but Indian media is too deferential towards politicians. 

Sheila Dixit was the Chief Minister of Delhi during the disaster that was the Delhi Commonwealth Games. When told that an over-bridge collapsed and killed some laborers (just like in Brazil yesterday) she responded that "no VIPs were going to use the bridge."

This and other acts of arrogance directly led to her humiliating loss to Arvind Kejriwal in the Delhi elections. But politicians never ever lose their privileges. She was appointed by the previous Congress regime as the present governor of Kerala. The BJP wants her out which may not be the right constitutional thing to do. But one major benefit will be that she will lose her immunity and be open to corruption charges. 
As Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit lived a regal life. No surprises that she does not want to leave the opulent perks that come with the high constitutional office of Kerala Governor. 

Resigning from that post, as desired by the Modi government would not just take away her immunity to be prosecuted in a criminal case but will also force her to live life as an ordinary citizen, howsoever affluent and connected, but pay for wasteful services enjoyed.

When the whole of Delhi used to sweat it out during summer, both due to power outage and high electricity tariff,s Sheila forced government agencies to fix 31 Air conditioners and 15 desert coolers at her official 3 Motilal Nehru residence. She also did not need to pay the electricity bills. And it was not only the fact that she wanted to stay cool in the summer. She also ensured that during winters, all corners of her house were kept adequately warm. In addition to 25 heaters that were installed in various corners, 12 geysers of 50 litre and 25 litre capacity were fixed to ensure an uninterrupted supply of warm water in bathrooms.

The bungalow has sprawling manicured lawns, made up as per the taste of the former Delhi chief minister. This type VIII bungalow is spread across an area of three acres.
These revelations have been made in an RTI response to queries made by the noted RTI activist Subash Agrawal. It also comes to light that the former Delhi chief minister now Governor of Kerala, had sundry household and kitchen durables bought on government expenses. She did not consider it necessary to buy these things herself for her own use.

These included things like two RO system (water purifier) , refrigerator not one but two (265 litre and 310 litre), 16 air purifiers, two microwave ovens, hot case, toaster, three TVs etc.

These were the items which were removed by the CPWD when they came to renovate and refurnish the house to make it a post re-retirement home for former prime minister Manmohan Singh. The CPWD added in its response that "the AC's and other fixture have been partially utilized in various Government offices as per the requirement".

Agrawal said, "Consumption of electricity and expenses on such a large fleet of electrical equipment can be well imagined that too at a time when austerity-drive was there in existence with shortage of electricity for commoners having been a common phenomenon. Our elected representatives should be role-model citizens adopting austerity in their personal lives especially when it is at cost of tax-payers' money. Enquiry should also be made if former Delhi chief minister was entitled for such princely facilities, and necessary action may be taken against concerned ones responsible for allowing expenses more than permissible limit.”

If Sheila will have to explain for her pompous living on public expenditure, some other UPA benefactors who still continue to live with walking symbol of VVIP culture, Z Plus and Z category security will get anxious moments in days to come. It would be left to their lobbying capacity to see whether or not they are removed from the list of high and mighty.

In most cases Z Plus or Z category security has come as perk of power than due to any genuine threat perception. The Union home ministry has begun the "review". But to avoid the consequent political storm, Home Minister Rajnath Singh may like the "review" process to take its own sweet time, till mid-August when budget session of Parliament concludes.

Lalu Prasad, for instance has Z Plus security cover with NSG commandos guarding him. It presented a unique sight when NSG was by his side, protecting him even when he was pronounced convicted in fodder scam and put inside Birsa Munda jail. The NSG, of course could not stay inside the jail. The commandos were back on duty once he was released on bail.

The ever growing list of VVIP protectees saw too many inclusions in the list. Besides, Lalu, Beni Prasad Verma, Amar Singh, Manish Tiwari, Pratap Singh Bajwa, Pramod Tiwari, Brajesh Pathak, Satish Chandra Mishra, Naveen Jindal, journalist Anirudh Bahal of Cobrapost and former Union minister Matang Sinh some of those who were given security of varying category Z Plus, Z or Y during the UPA regime. Two BJP leaders - Shahnawaz Hussain and Rajiv Pratap Rudy were accorded 'Z' category security.

The list of VIP protectee has 427 names, 346 Central protectee and 81 local. Over 35 are in Z Plus category, more than 50 in Z category. A Z plus protectee has 36 commandos guarding him, in Z category 22 commandos guard him, in Y category 11 security personnel are attached to the VIP and in X category two policemen guard him.





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