In a significant development, sources have confirmed that the Gandhi family may lose their SPG security cover, as part of a security rejig. Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, former Cong president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi has SPG cover. As per inputs on the development, the Special Protection Group cover is to be given only to the serving Prime Minister and the President. Sources also informed Republic TV that a major change can be expected in the SPG cover procedures by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in accordance with the SPG act which will be changed and brought in Parliament. In-principle approval for the changes was given in a meeting of the MHA last month.
The Gandhi family is likely to be given Z+ security following this. Earlier in August, MHA decided that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will get CRPF protection and his SPG security cover will be withdrawn. Sources informing more on the development told Republic TV that annual meeting happens to review security cover of former Prime Ministers. It was decided in the meeting that former PM Manmohan Singh will no more receive SPG security.
The SPG has over 3,000 personnel. Based on threat perception, the special group covers Prime Ministers as well as former Prime Ministers and their families. The SPG was set up in 1985 specifically for the security of Prime Ministers after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her security guards a year before. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former PMs and their families for 10 years. In 2003, the Vajpayee government amended the law again to bring down the automatic protection for 10 years to one year - or more depending on the level of threat as decided by the Centre. Earlier, the daughter of Manmohan Singh, as well as Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster daughter, had given up the SPG cover provided to them. While former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had SPG cover till he passed away in 2018, former Prime Ministers HD Deve Gowda's and VP Singh's security was revoked.