Home minister Amit Shah continues to be protected by the Central Reserve Police Force at his insistence, government officials familiar with the matter said.
According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, after Shah was appointed the home minister in May, the VIP security assessment committee at the ministry of home affairs (MHA) met to decide who would be in charge of his security -- CRPF, which has protected him since July 2014, or the National Security Guards (NSG) commandos, who were providing cover to Shah’s predecessor Rajnath Singh.
The MHA committee takes into account the threat perception by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) before taking a decision on VIP security. In Shah’s case, the committee discussed that he faces the highest level of threat from terrorist groups after PM Narendra Modi.
At the committee’s meeting, one of the officials said, some pointed out that NSG should continue to secure the home minister. When Shah was asked about his choice he said he was content with CRPF, this person added.
The paramilitary force provides Z-Plus (the highest) category protection to Shah and is now also in charge of ASL (advanced security liaison) for security at his residence and office, as well as his travels.
Shah is the first union home minister who is secured by CRPF. While Rajnath Singh had Z-Plus NSG cover, P Chidambaram was rarely seen travelling with his security detail and escort vehicles even though he was entitled to Z-Plus security. Sushil Kumar Shinde and Shivraj Singh Patil were secured by NSG.
Under Z-Plus cover, Shah is protected by 100 CRPF armed commandoes in three shifts.
By virtue of being home minister, Delhi Police is now also responsible for securing the outer periphery of Shah’s residence while local state police forces are supposed to take care of the outer ring at his public programmes and VIP traffic movement when he travels outside the capital.
Shah moved to his new residence at 6A Krishna Menon Marg in August last week itself, where Delhi police has already strengthened the security by deploying over 50 men.
A ministry of home affairs spokesperson didn’t respond to a call seeking comment.