National

Centre withdraws Manmohan Singh’s SPG cover

PTI New Delhi | Updated on August 26, 2019 Published on August 26, 2019

Manmohan Singh   -  THE HINDU

SPG cover to now given to PM Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi

The Central Government has withdrawn the security by the Special Protection Group (SPG) to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, following a review by multiple security agencies, officials said on Monday.

Singh, who was the Prime Minister from 2004 and 2014, will continue to enjoy Z plus security cover -- one of the highest -- to be given by one of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), preferably by the CRPF, they said.

“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 Z+ security cover,” a home ministry spokesperson said.

The decision was taken after a three-month review involving the Cabinet Secretariat and the Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from various intelligence agencies.

With the removal of SPG cover from Singh, the top notch security cover will now be given by the SPG only to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gandhis -- Sonia, Rahul and Priyanka.

According to procedures laid down by the SPG Act, 1988, Singh was entitled to SPG cover for one year after he demitted office in 2014.

His SPG security cover was renewed annually after a review of the threats faced by him and his wife Gursharan Kaur.

Singh’s daughters, who were also given SPG cover, gave up the protection voluntarily in 2014.

What is SPG?

The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of prime minister Indira Gandhi. Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988, dedicating the group to protecting the prime minister. At the time, the Act did not include former prime ministers. When V P Singh came to power in 1989, his government withdrew SPG protection given to his predecessor Rajiv Gandhi.

After Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to offer SPG protection to all former prime ministers and their families for at least 10 years.

The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government conducted a review of the SPG’s functioning, and decided to withdraw the SPG protection given to former prime ministers P V Narasimha Rao, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral.

In 2003, the Vajpayee government again amended the SPG Act to bring the period of automatic protection down from 10 years to “a period of one year from the date on which the former prime minister ceased to hold office” and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the general government.

Published on August 26, 2019
  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.