Weeks after losing SPG cover, Priyanka Gandhi suffered security breach
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra suffered a minor security breach at her residence in Delhi's Lodhi Estate, last week. The incident took place merely weeks after Gandhi's security cover was downgraded from the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) to Z-plus security. Reportedly, five people entered her house in a car, and asked to click pictures with her. Here are more details.
Notably, the SPG security cover to Priyanka Gandhi, along with that to her mother and Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, and brother Rahul Gandhi, was lowered down to Z-plus, last month. The government attributed the revision to a reduced threat perception for the family.
According to India Today, a vehicle barged into the house of Gandhi at around 2 pm on November 26. Reportedly, the car carried five people, including a child, who then walked up to the garden, and requested to take selfies with the leader. The visiting family, claiming to be Gandhi's admirers, said they had come from an Uttar Pradesh town, to see her.
Confirming the news, an official at Gandhi's office said, "Yes it (security breach) did happen, but no hell broke loose. She (Gandhi) chatted with them (visitors) nicely, took pictures and they went back. But after that, others in the office took it up with CRPF."
In light of the said security violation, Gandhi's office has written to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which now protects her, under the Z-plus security cover. However, the CRPF, in its reply, said that the responsibility of granting access to the residence lies on Delhi Police, which reverted that the gates were opened only after they were given a green signal by forces.
Earlier, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had claimed that there have been 600 instances when members of the Gandhi family violated security norms by traveling without SPG cover. "I have no hesitation saying on record that the changes made to the (SPG) Bill earlier were made keeping a single family (Gandhis) in mind," Shah had said. However, Congress accused the Centre of "political vendetta".
It should be noted that the SPG, which comprises 3,000 security personnel, was set up in 1985, following the assassination of the then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the year before. Later, in 1991, after the assassination of Indira's son and former PM Rajiv Gandhi, SPG Act was amended to allow forces to protect former prime ministers (and their families) for a period of 10 years.
Now, the SPG (Amendment) Bill 2019, that was passed by Lok Sabha on November 27, entails protection to the Prime Minister and their immediate family residing with them at PM's official residence. Further, the SPG shall continue providing protection to former PMs and their immediate families residing with them, for a period of five years, starting the day they vacate the office of PM.