After wrapping up a comprehensive review of the security cover provided to about 435 VIPs from different areas, the Union Home Ministry has decided to withdraw the X-category security given to 30 persons. With this, the list of the protectees under the category has shrunk to 20, sources in the Ministry said.

A protectee is given one personal security officer for eight hours. This means sparing three policemen for him for round- the-clock security. In another 10 to 15 days, the sources said, the drill would be carried out for those who enjoyed Y, Z and Z-plus category security.

After the security downgrade or withdrawal, the Ministry expects to take about 2,500 police personnel off from VIP security duty and make their services available for maintenance of law and order. Though the sources did not divulge the names of the “X” category protectees, whose security cover was being withdrawn, It is learnt that the list includes names of mostly politicians and some former judges. A detailed review of VIP security was carried out over the past two months.

Home Minister P Chidambaram himself goes around without any security paraphernalia and he has expressed the view that security should be given only to those who either face credible threats or are hold constitutional posts. In the last session of Parliament, the issue of VIP security and the Home Ministry's review of Z and Z-plus category protectees evoked protests from Opposition parties.

They were annoyed at the move to downgrade the security cover to their leaders. Some of the names that came up at that time included U.P. Chief Minister Mayawati, the former Bihar Chief Minister, Rabri Devi, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi and former Union Ministers like Ram Vilas Paswan and Natwar Singh.

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