Govt strips Gandhis of SPG cover, to be given CRPF Z-plus security

New Delhi: The Centre withdrew the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover given to the Gandhi family Friday. They will now be provided with CRPF Z-plus cover instead.

The decision to provide the type of protection is taken by the Home Ministry based on inputs from intelligence agencies, which include the Intelligence Bureau and the Research and Analysis Wing (RA&W).

The move comes months after former prime minister Manmohan Singh’s SPG security cover was withdrawn. According to MHA sources, the security cover of the former prime minister was downgraded based on report from intelligence agencies, which do not perceive threat of an attack on him grave enough to warrant SPG cover.

In October, after scrutinising details of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s security protocol as devised by the Special Protection Group (SPG), the government had identified “gaps that raise concern”.

Official had found out that since 2015, there have been 1,892 occasions (until May 2019) when Gandhi did not travel in a bullet-resistant (BR) vehicle in Delhi — this works out to at least once a day. Government sources also said that the Congress leader has also been reluctant to use SPG cover abroad.

There are largely six types of security covers: X, Y, Y plus, Z, Z plus and SPG. While SPG is meant only for the PM and his immediate family, other categories can be provided to anyone about whom the Centre or state governments have inputs about facing a threat.

Ultimate Personal vendetta

Senior Congress leader Ahmed patel said ,The BJP has descended to the ultimate personal vendetta mechanism, compromising the lives of family members of 2 Former Prime Ministers to acts of terror and violence.

The BJP has descended to the ultimate personal vendetta mechanism, compromising the lives of family members of 2 Former Prime Ministers to acts of terror and violence,” Patel said in a tweet.

CM writes to Shah

Dissenting over the Centre’s move to remove SPG security cover from Gandhi family, CM Ashok Gehlot has shot off a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah and termed that it would be a “grave danger” to the life of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. The CM stated in his letter, “For the past few days reports are being published in newspaper on this issue and it is a decision taken out of ill-intent and without thought which will amount to a “play” with the life of these three individuals.