SPG: Govt claims Gandhi family flouted rules

Rahul Gandhi with SPGs (PTI File Photo)

As it withdrew the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) cover for Gandhi family, the government on Friday claimed that there were instances of non-cooperation from Congress president Sonia Gandhi and top leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi towards the security set up.

Official sources claimed that they made unscheduled visits inside and outside the country without SPG cover and provided their travel plans at the “eleventh hour” making it impossible for SPG to accompany them. They also levelled allegations against the force, they claimed.

On Rahul, they said, there were 1,892 occasions between 2015 and May 2019 when he did not use a bullet-proof vehicle inside Delhi while there were 247 occasions till June this year when he travelled outside Delhi in a non-bullet resistant vehicle.

Sources claimed that he travelled in non-SPG approved vehicles during 18 visits to various places in the country during 2005-14. He also violated rules on 247 occasions when he violated rules to travel outside Delhi.

Referring to the 4 August, 2017 incident in Gujarat's Banaskantha when his vehicle came under stone pelting in which an SPG personnel was injured, they said it could have been avoided provided Rahul had used an SPG-approved bullet-proof vehicle.

Sources also disapproved of incidents where Rahul travelled on the roof of vehicle, refusing to heed to security advices and violating provisions of Motor Vehicle Act.

Of the 156 foreign visits that he undertook since 1991, they said he did not take SPG officers on 143 visits and in most of the cases, he shared his travel plans "at the eleventh hour preventing the SPG officers from accompanying him".

On Sonia, sources claimed she did not use SPG vehicles on 50 occasions while moving around in Delhi between 2015 and 2019 and on all occasions except one, Rahul drove the non-bullet proof car. Sonia is also accused of undertaking 13 unscheduled visits in the last five years when she did not use security approved cars while she also did not allow SPG officials to accompany her on 24 foreign visits.

Priyanka is accused of not using SPG approved vehicles on 339 occasions in Delhi and 64 times outside Delhi while on 99 foreign visits since 1991, she took SPG security cover only 21 times. Many a time, sources said, she provided her travel plans at the "eleventh hour" making it difficult for the SPG to make arrangements.

Sources also said she levelled allegations against SPG that the personnel were collecting her personal and confidential information and sharing with unauthorised persons and even threatened the top officials. SPG had countered the allegations, they said. 

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