New Delhi: The Centre on Monday withdrew former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s Special Protection Group (SPG) security. He will have the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) cover, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) decided. (Also read: ‘India Passing Through Deep Crisis,’ Says Manmohan)
“The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on the professional assessment by security agencies. Dr Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover,” said MHA.
Reports quoted sources as saying that Singh’s security has been reassessed as part of an annual exercise to review SPG cover, which is given to the country’s most protected politicians, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi.
Similar security given to former prime ministers HD Deve Gowda and VP Singh was also withdrawn later.
SPG is given to former prime ministers and their families based on threat perception. Dr Singh’s daughters had already relinquished their SPG cover. Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s foster daughter had also given up the added security.
A couple of months ago, the Centre reduced the number of staff provided to the former prime minister. Sources said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had turned down a request from Dr Singh for retaining his 14-member staff.
According to Zee News, Dr Singh wrote to the PM’s Principal Secretary over the issue and even cited how the term of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s staff was extended and how similar benefits were extended to P V Narasimha Rao and I K Gujral as well after they demitted the office.
However, on May 26 this year, his staff was cut down from 14 to 5. The PMO conveyed to Dr Singh that Prime Minister Modi has not accepted his request to retain his 14-member support staff and decided to go by the rule book.
The former PM was also informed that the Centre had refused to extend the benefits he was entitled to. Dr Singh has led the UPA I and II as the PM for two consecutive terms.