The police questionnaire had allegedly asked the colour of Rahul Gandhi's hair and eyes and the clothes he wears (file photo)
It may well have been a series of clumsy security questions by a few low-ranking policemen, but the three visits of Delhi’s finest to Rahul Gandhi’s home in early March to ask security personnel questions about the opposition leader, at a time when he was not at home, has been labelled by the Congress party as 'snooping'.
The combative opposition has now seized this as an issue to raise in parliament, which could derail the passage of key bills in the Rajya Sabha.
Sure enough, there was uproar in parliament on Monday, with the Congress accusing the BJP of spying on Gandhi. The police questionnaire had allegedly asked questions about the colour of the 44-year old leader’s hair and eyes and the clothes he wears.
"Why does the police need to know his shoe size... is this the sort of spying that this government plans against political opponents?" asked Congress parliamentary leader Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The opposition party said Gandhi's security cover is managed by the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) commandos and wondered why the city police was inquiring into his details.
The NDA government has denied allegations that it snooped on Rahul Gandhi – it described the security inquiry as routine of a type faced by a number of BJP leaders in the past.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Congress was "making a mountain out of not even a molehill".
He said a previous Congress government, under the late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, had in 1987 itself initiated the "profiling process for prominent politicians" that involved filling in a document as a part of a routine security drill.
According to Economic Times, the ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the Delhi Police and will review the security questionnaire to delete “unwanted questions”.
But BK Gupta, former police chief from 2010-2012, said a security survey of MPs was not a ‘routine exercise’ and he had never ordered such a survey during his tenure.
“This is height of idiocy… if you need details on MPs, you can go and simply collect it from the Parliament Secretariat,” Gupta told Economic Times.