The Union Government has withdrawn the Special Protection Group (SPG) security to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The SPG cover was withdrawn following a review by multiple security agencies. The decision to withdraw the SPG security cover was taken after a three-month review by the Cabinet Secretariat and the Ministry of Home Affairs with inputs from various intelligence agencies.
Manmohan Singh, who was the Prime Minister from 2004 and 2014, will still continue to enjoy Z plus security cover. The Z+ Plus security is one of the highest — to be given by one of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), preferably by the CRPF. With the removal of SPG cover from Manmohan Singh, the SPG security cover will now be given only to 4 persons in the country – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
According to the SPG Act, 1988, Manmohan Singh was entitled to SPG cover for one year only after he demitted office in 2014. His SPG security cover was renewed every year after a review of the threats faced by him and his wife Gursharan Kaur. Manmohan Singh’s daughters gave up the protection voluntarily in 2014.
About Special Protection Group (SPG):
- The Indian Special Protection Group is “an armed force of the Indian Government for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister of India and former Prime Ministers of India and members of their immediate families wherever in the world they are located.
- The director of the SPG since its formation has been an officer from the Indian Police Service
- 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.
- 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 in 2003 conducted a review of the SPG’s functioning and decided to amend 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.