The government has withdrawn the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover of Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka, officials said on Friday. The three will now be given Z-plus security by the CRPF.
The decision to withdraw the SPG cover given to the family of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, was taken after a detailed security assessment, a senior official said.
The Gandhis will be without SPG protection after 28 years. They were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in September 1991 in the SPG Act of 1988.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now be the only person being protected by the elite SPG commandos.
The Gandhi family will be covered by CRPF personnel. Under the Z-plus security, they will have commandos from the paramilitary force in close proximity besides guards at their homes and where ever they travel in the country, the official said.
SPG protectees, under the rules, are provided with guards, hi-tech vehicles, jammers and an ambulance in their carcade. In August this year, the government withdrew the SPG cover of former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The SPG Act, enacted by Parliament in 1988, was initially supposed to provide security to only the prime minister and former prime ministers of the country.
The Act was amended after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to include the immediate family members of former prime ministers, paving the way for Sonia Gandhi as well her children to get SPG security.
The need for a separate force for guarding the Prime Minister of the country was felt after Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her own security guards on October 31, 1984.