Govt eyes to amend SPG Act to keep kin of ex-PMs out

Earlier this month, the government has withdrawn the SPG protection given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, after 28 years. In August, it had withdrawn the SPG cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Photo/PTI

After the recent revocation of the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover to the Gandhis, the government is now planning to amend the Special Protection Group Act to keep the families of former prime ministers out of the elite force's ambit.

The amendment bill, which is likely to be brought in Parliament next week, removes the provision to provide security to the families that was added after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination in 1991. The changes have been approved by the Cabinet, sources said.

Earlier this month, the government has withdrawn the SPG protection given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, after 28 years. In August, it had withdrawn the SPG cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

As per the existing SPG Act, the force provides security to the prime minister and the members of his immediate family, and any former prime minister or to the members of his immediate family for a period of one year from the date on which the incumbent ceases to hold office, and beyond one year based on the level of threat.

The families of former prime ministers were included in the SPG Act through an amendment in September 1991, four months after Rajiv's assassination. With the withdrawal of SPG cover, the Gandhis are now guarded by the 'Z-plus' security of the CRPF.

In Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, the Congress has urged the government not to mix security with politics even as BJP denied such allegations. Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday described the removal of SPG cover from the Gandhi family part of politics that keeps happening.

The BJP has denied accusations saying these done as per the security assessment. BJP Working President J P Nadda had said that the decision was "not taken by a political person" but after the assessment by the security establishment.

 

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