MHA rebuts Rahul's remark on SPG

MHA rebuts Rahul's remark on SPG

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Monday described as "baseless" and "devoid of fact" a remark made by Congress president Rahul Gandhi.

Rahul has said that a former Special Protection Group (SPG) chief had to quit because he refused to appoint a list of officers handpicked by the RSS.

"The comment reportedly made by Gandhi (Rahul) through the media is baseless, devoid of fact and unfortunate, coming from an SPG protectee," the ministry said in a statement.

It was referring to a comment made by Rahul during an interaction with intellectuals on last Saturday.

Rahul had claimed that educational institutions, the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India and others are "systematically being captured" by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

He went on to say, "When Mr (Narendra) Modi came to power, a person from Gujarat was chosen to head the SPG. In a short time, he left the position. He told me that he refused a list of SPG officers handpicked by the RSS, and that is why he was sent home."

The MHA statement said, "the matter has been verified. The officer in question, Vivek Srivastava, former Director, Special Protection Group (SPG), has specifically averred that he did not have any such conversation with Rahul Gandhi at any point of time."

The officer has stated that as part of his professional duties he interacted with SPG protectees.

"However, he has categorically stated that during his interaction with Shri Gandhi (Rahul), there was no talk whatsoever regarding the appointment of a new Director, or the reasons for his leaving SPG," it said.

The statement added that the SPG is a professional organisation which takes its task of protecting serving prime ministers, former prime ministers and their families, "very seriously and in the highest professional spirit".

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