The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to withdraw Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover given to the Gandhi family – Congress interim Sonia Gandhi and Gandhi scions Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
According to the reports, the Home Ministry has replaced the SPG category status of the Gandhi family with Z-plus security, which will be now taken over by CRPF personnel on the all-India basis. According to India Today journalist Shiv Aroor, the detail now given to Rahul, Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi would involve a 55 personnel detail, including 10 NSG commandos and the Police.
Recently, the intelligence agencies had conducted a detailed review of threat perception of the Gandhis and had advised downgrading of security protection accorded to them from SPG cover to ‘Z-plus security’. The intelligence agencies had concluded that while evaluating the danger posed to the Gandhis, that their safety would be ensured by replacing the SPG with ‘Z-plus’.
At present, only Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the three Gandhis are recipients of proximate security by SPG personnel.
As of now-former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, top BJP leaders LK Advani and Murali Manohar Joshi, as well as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh are under ‘Z-plus’ protection. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has been accorded with a ‘Z special’ category security.
An expert committee from various intelligence agencies put forth their recommendations to the Home Ministry and the Cabinet Secretariat, where the final decision is taken after due consultation with the government. The threat perception to individuals is annually evaluated and a decision is taken based on the appraisal arrangements for security after evaluation.
Recently, the central government had also made some changes in the security cover provided to former PM Manmohan Singh. As per reports, the SPG security provided to Dr Manmohan Singh was replaced with CRPF staff.