NEW DELHI: Amid controversy over the withdrawal of SPG cover to the Gandhi family and former PM Manmohan Singh, the government will table the Special Protection Group (SPG) Amendment Bill in the Lok Sabha next week with an amendment to remove SPG protection for family members of former prime ministers.
The proposed legislation has been listed in the government’s business for next week for introduction in the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal announced in the House.
Sources said the amendment will focus on restricting SPG protection to only the Prime Minister and not other VVIPs. The decision to not give protection to the family members of the elite SPG commandos was approved by the Union cabinet on Wednesday, officials said on Friday.
The move comes days after the government withdrew the SPG protection given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, triggering protests from the party.
The decision to withdraw the SPG cover given to the family of former PM Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, was taken after a detailed security assessment earlier this month. The Gandhis are without SPG protection for the first time in 28 years. They were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in September 1991 in the SPG Act of 1988. They now have ‘Z-plus’ security cover under which they are protected by CRPF commandos.
PM Narendra Modi is now the only person to be protected by the SPG. Under the rules, SPG protectees are provided with guards, hi-tech vehicles, jammers and an ambulance in their cavalcade.