Amaravati: Days after former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was frisked at the Gannavaram airport in Vijayawada and denied VIP treatment while boarding his flight, a senior official has clarified that the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President is not exempt from the procedure.

Inspector General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, E Damodar on Sunday addressed the media about the issue and said that former chief ministers were not exempted from security checks at airports.

Mr Damodar said, "I have worked with the Aviation VIP Security Wing for three and a half years in joint Andhra Pradesh and had been exposed to aviation security. The United Nations specialized agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), said that all members must comply with the regulations in accordance with Article 17 of the Chicago Convention."

He said the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) regulations should be followed in the UN member country and as per BCAS, the categories of persons exempt from security screening before embarking on any aircraft were finalized. Former CMs, even with Z plus category, are not exempt under these regulations.

Recalling that the 36/2005 Circular was issued to all States to strictly comply with the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPS) regulations, the official said the former Chief Ministers and Z Plus category security claimants were clearly not exempt from an inspection before entering the airports.

Citing the example of former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, the IG recalled that she was subject to security screening at the airport after she stepped down from her post. However, she approached the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and secured an exemption.

The former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam was also checked at the airport in accordance with the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations, which are in the same vein as BCAS.

According to US TSA regulations, even the Cabinet Secretary, the top US military officials, are not exempt from security checks at airports. The IG said, "Even in our country, these rules are followed. CISF and Special Protection Force personnel inspect the aircraft, whether they belong to private owners or fleet operators. Instead of appreciating the security personnel at the Gannavaram airport for carrying out their duties professionally as per the rules, creating a row over the issue will further lead to ignorance on the rules."

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