NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday rejected Congress President Rahul Gandhi's statement that a former SPG chief had to quit because he refused to accept a list of officers handpicked by the RSS. In a statement, the home ministry termed Rahul Gandhi's statement as "baseless" and "devoid of fact", saying that the elite force was a professional organisation which guarded the prime minister, former prime ministers and their families.
"The comment reportedly made by Gandhi through the media is baseless, devoid of fact and unfortunate, coming from an SPG protectee," read the statement. Rahul Gandhi, his mother and former Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, and sister Priyanka are among the Special Protection Group's protectees.
The SPG is a professional organisation that takes its task of protecting serving prime ministers, former prime ministers and their families entrusted to its security very seriously, and in the highest professional spirit, the ministry said.
In an interaction with academicians on Saturday, Rahul Gandhi had alleged that educational institutions, the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India were "systematically being captured" by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The Congress chief had alleged, "When Mr (Narendra) Modi came to power, a person from Gujarat was chosen to head the SPG. In a short time, he left the position. He told me that he refused a list of SPG officers handpicked by the RSS, and that is why he was sent home." The home ministry said the matter had been verified and the officer in question, Vivek Srivastava, former SPG director, had said that he did not have any such conversation with Rahul Gandhi at any point of time.
"The officer has stated that as part of his professional duties he interacted with SPG protectees. However, he has categorically stated that during his interaction with (Rahul) Gandhi, there was no talk whatsoever regarding the appointment of a new director, or the reasons for his leaving the SPG," read the home ministry's statement.