Those in BJP whose cover has been withdrawn altogether were state unit chief Chandrakant Patil, ex-CM Narayan Rane, and legislators Ram Kadam and Prasad Lad.
Home minister Anil Deshmukh denied vendetta politics, saying all decisions were taken on merit following recommendations from a threat perception committee.
The heat kept rising with BJP favouring a CBI inquiry after the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, BMC and police action on actor Kangana Ranaut over property alterations and her tweets, the shifting of the metro shed from Aarey to Kanjurmarg and, in recent days, Fadnavis’s allegation that the premium cut announced for developers was designed to benefit a few prominent builders .
Deshmukh said the threat perception committee had studied all reports from different agencies and then decided on the security cover. “There is absolutely no politics in it,’’ he said.
While security cover was enhanced for leading criminal lawyer Ujwal Nikam, it was restored for cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Categorised security will be given to Thackeray’s younger son, Tejas, and his cousin, Varun Sardesai.
The government said the decision on security cover was taken on the basis of a recommendation made by a high-level threat perception committee led by chief secretary Sanjay Kumar. The other members of the committee were DGP Hemant Nagrale, police commissioner Parambir Singh, ACS (home) Sitaram Kunte and state intelligence commissioner Ashutosh Dumbre.
Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, the CM, NCP chief Sharad Pawar and Lt Gen K S Brar (retired) will continue to get the highest, Z+ security cover.
Fadnavis’s wife, Amruta, and daughter, Divija, had Y category security, which was reduced to X.
Raj Thackeray went from Z to Y+ with escort. Rane’s security was withdrawn as the NDA government at the Centre had provided him with special security.
Shiv Sena politician and the CM’s trusted aide Milind Narvekwar will continue with Y+ security.
Deputy CM Ajit Pawar, Aaditya Thackeray, activist Anna Hazare and home minister Deshmukh will continue with Z category, while former Lok Ayukta M L Tahaliyani’s security was reduced to Y category.
Ministers Balasaheb Thorat, Ashok Chavan, Nitin Raut, Jayant Patil, Chhagan Bhujbal, Bunty Patil, Ashok Chavan, Uday Samant, Anil Parab, Prithviraj Chavan, Jeetendra Awhad and Dhananjay Munde, Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut, assembly speaker Nana Patole, and council chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar were given Y+ security with escort. Uddhav Thackeray’s wife, Rashmi, was also given the same cover.
Former minister Eknath Khadse, former Punjab DGP J F Rebeiro and NCP Rajya Sabha member Praful Patel will continue to be in Y+ category, while film star Shatrughan Sinha’s security cover was upgraded from Y to Y+ with escort.
Cricketer Tendulkar was given X category cover, while film star Amitabh Bachchan continued with X category. Sharad Pawar’s wife, Pratibha, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, and former chief justice J N Patel were also given the same cover.
Former ministers Kripashankar Singh and Sudhir Mungantiwar, state minister Sanjay Bansode, Union minister Raosaheb Danve, BJP legislators Ram Kadam and Prasad Lad, former minister Shobhatai Fadnavis, BJP politician Madhav Bhandari and former speaker Haribhau Bagde were de-categorised, receiving no cover from the state. Former Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik’s security cover was reduced to Y from Y+ with escort.
No change was made in the security provided to high-ranking officials of the BARC and nuclear energy programme.
Fadnavis said he had no complaint against the move.
“When I was a legislator and later state BJP president, I had no security. When I took over as CM, initially I had refused security, but out of compulsion I accepted the highest security cover. I have no complaints. I will continue to move around, meet people and visit all corners of the state. After examining the threat perception, the state government will take a decision, or even the Centre can provide me security if there is threat to my life,” he said.
Home minister Deshmukh said that for the first time, uniform security cover had been provided to cabinet members and ministers of state.
He said it was shocking that during BJP rule Sharad Pawar’s security cover was drastically cut, while there was no security for Ajit Pawar. “I found that there was only one personal security cover for Pawar and no security cover for Ajit Pawar. We took note and on the basis of the report submitted by the threat perception committee, Z+ security cover has been provided to Sharad Pawar and Z category for Ajit Pawar,’’ he said.
A senior bureaucrat said that the reduction in security cover would free up manpower for the safety and security of people.