Bulletproof Range Rover, Special Gadgets Used by SPG Not Withdrawn From Gandhis’ Security: Report
Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi (R) walks along with her son and MP Rahul Gandhi. (Picture Courtesy: Reuters)
New Delhi: The vehicles and the technical equipment used by the Special Protection Group to guard the Gandhi family has not been withdrawn after the downgrade of their security cover to Z-plus and will now be deployed by the CRPF, which now handles their security.
“The Range Rover SUVs and all other logistics including technical gadgets and instruments deployed by SPG when it was handling the Gandhis’ security detail, remain deployed even now,” a CRPF officer told the Times of India.
The officer added that paperwork for the transfer of the SUVs and other equipment could take a couple of months, but these shall continue to be used in the meantime. “The home ministry has already written to the Cabinet secretariat to allow the book transfer,” he said.
Three members of the Gandhi family – Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi – were stripped off their SPG cover earlier this month and are now guarded by a VVIP protection unit of the Central Reserve Police Force.
The issue became a political slugfest as the Congress said the government move smacked of a witch hunt and protested in the Parliament. Sonia Gandhi was also seen entering the Parliament from gate number 1 like all other MPs in a 2010-make Tata Safari.
When asked why the Tata Safari was used for her travels if the specially reinforced Range Rover had not been withdrawn from her security detail, the CRPF officer told the newspaper that both vehicles are being used for her security detail and different cars may be used on different days and also depending on the destination.
“The Tata Safari cars we use are also bullet-resistant. Besides, the threat level during the journey to Parliament is relatively lower. The very same Tata Safari cars are being used for our other protectees with a higher threat perception, such as the home minister,” the officer explained.
Sources in the CRPF further said that a reasonable percentage of CRPF personnel allotted to these protectees have earlier served in the SPG. Many of them have been on deputation to SPG for as many as 8-10 years. Besides, they are using the same level of weaponry, the Times of India reported.