Special Protection Group (SPG) will now be dedicated to the security of only Prime Minister of India for various reasons, sources said here.
They said it was found that due to the nature of their duty SPG gets to know classified information about the movements of Prime Minister and there was a view that it is not advisable to deploy the force on any other security duty.
They said that withdrawal of SPG cover to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was done after a review that took into account multiple factors. The leaders have been placed in Z+ security category.
Sources said that the SPG security cover to the members of the first family of Congress has been getting extended by the Central Government annually for the last 28 years, which is quite extraordinary.
They said the three leaders have on multiple occasions not availed a bullet-resistant vehicle.
"Rahul Gandhi, during 2005-2014, travelled in non-BR (bullet-resistant) vehicles on 18 visits to different parts of the country. Since 2015, there have been 1892 occasions [till May 2019] when he travelled in a non-BR vehicle in Delhi, which amounts to almost once every day. There have been 247 occasions [till June 2019] when he travelled in a non-BR vehicle outside Delhi," a source said.
The sources said Rahul Gandhi's travelling on the roof of the vehicle on a few occasions during internal tours in violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act and security provisions was also an apparent reason for withdrawal of SPG cover.
"During his visit at Banaskantha (Gujarat) on August 4, 2017, while he was travelling in a non-BR car again (against) the security advice of SPG, there was an incident of stone-pelting on non-BR private car of the protectee in which the SPG PSO was injured. The injury could have been avoided had the SPG BR-car been used. This matter was raised by the Congress in Parliament and through the media and Union Home Minister had made a statement in Lok Sabha where it was informed that Rahul Gandhi did not avail SPG BR vehicles on 100 occasions out of his 121 visits between April 2015 to June 2017," the source said.
Of 156 foreign visits that he undertook since 1991, he did not take SPG officers on 143 visits.
On most of these 143 foreign visits, he shared the travel itinerary at eleventh hours preventing the SPG officers from accompanying him on the tours, the sources said.
They said Sonia Gandhi also did not use SPG BR vehicle on 50 occasions while travelling in New Delhi from 2015 to May 2019.
On all but one of these occasions, Rahul Gandhi drove her non-BR car, sources claimed.
"She also undertook 13 unscheduled visits to various places in the country in the last five years [till May 2019] during which she used non-BR cars. She also did not take SPG officers on 24 of her foreign visits since 2015," the sources said.
Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also allegedly broke norms concerning SPG cover.
"Since 2015 till May 2019, she did not use SPG BR vehicles for her travel on 339 occasions within Delhi and on 64 occasions at other places in the country. She used non-BR vehicles against the advice of SPG officers on these visits," a government source claimed, explaining the reason for her getting Z+ security instead of SPG earlier.
"Out of total of 99 foreign visits that she has undertaken since 1991, she took SPG security cover only on 21 occasions and refused to take the security for other 78 visits. On most such tours, she shared her travel plan at the eleventh hours rendering it impossible for SPG to depute officers for her security," sources added.
Since May 2014, on several occasions, she had levelled allegations against SPG officers that they were collecting her personal and confidential information and sharing with unauthorised persons and had talked of taking legal action, government sources said.
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