New Delhi: Issuing fresh guidelines related to the security cover accorded to the Gandhis, the Centre has made it mandatory for the SPG personnel to accompany them at all times whenever they travel abroad.
The Special Protection Group (SPG) currently guards Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Till very recently, whenever the Gandhis travelled abroad, the SPG personnel accompanying them would go till their first location abroad and then the Gandhis, preferring their privacy, would send them back to India.
The new guidelines also make it mandatory for the Gandhi family to submit all details related to their travel. They have been asked to supply information of their past few tours as well, The Sunday Guardian reported.
They Centre has made it clear that nonacceptance of these new guidelines could lead to curtailment on their foreign visits on account of security considerations, the newspaper said in its report.
The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988 dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Minister of India. In 1989, VP Singh government had withdrawn the SPG protection given to the outgoing PM Rajiv Gandhi.
After Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991, the SPG Act was amended, offering SPG protection to all former Prime Ministers and their families for a period of at least 10 years. The rule was amended again in 2002 to make provision for an annual review. Former prime ministers such as HD Deve Gowda also lost their SPG cover after a review.
In August, the Narendra Modi government withdrew the Special Protection Group (SPG) from former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s security cover.
A statement from the ministry of home affairs said that Singh will have Z-plus security instead of SPG. "The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on professional assessment by security agencies. Dr. Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover," it said.