The government has removed the SPG cover of the Gandhi family after they did not co-operate with the SPG over the year and impeded the smooth functioning of SPG, top government sources have said, explaining the decision.
These sources cited figures and instances to claim that Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi did not use SPG’s bullet-proof vehicles on numerous occasions and also did not take SPG personnel abroad during their foreign visits on a majority of their trips abroad. Priyanka Gandhi, on several occasions, even leveled allegations against SPG officers that they were collecting her personal and confidential information and sharing with unauthorised persons and threatened the top officials of SPG to drag them into legal action, sources said. “SPG has from time to time countered such allegations by clarifying that it confines its work to strictly the official charter,” government sources clarified.
As per the information shared by government sources, Rahul Gandhi, during 2005-2014, travelled in non-BR (bullet resistant) vehicles on 18 visits to different parts of the country and there has been 1892 occasions till May this year when he travelled in a non-BR vehicle in Delhi, which amounts to almost one incident everyday. There have been 247 occasions when he travelled in a non-BR vehicle outside Delhi, sources said.
“He even travelled on the roof of vehicle on a few occasions during internal tours in violation of the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act and security advices. During his visit at Banaskantha in Gujarat on August 4, 2017, while he was travelling in a non-BR car again the security advice of SPG there was an incident of stone pelting on his non-BR private car. The injury could have been avoided had the SPG BR-car was used,” a government source said.
Sources also said that out of total 156 foreign visits that Rahul Gandhi undertook since 1991 he did not take SPG officers along on 143 visits. “In most of these 143 foreign visits, he shared the travel itinerary at eleventh hours preventing the SPG officers from accompanying him on the tours. Rahul Gandhi also dragged the name of SPG on a few occasions in the last 5 years in his public speeches, which is undesirable,” government sources said.
Sonia Gandhi also did not use an SPG Bullet-resistant vehicle on 50 occasions while travelling in New Delhi from 2015 to May 2019. “On all but one of these occasions, Rahul Gandhi drove her non-BR car. She also undertook 13 unscheduled visits to various places in the country in the last 5 years during which she used non-BR cars. She also did not take SPG officers on 24 of her foreign visits since 2015,” government sources added.
Same was the case with Priyanka Gandhi who since 2015 till May 2019 did not use SPG bullet-resistant vehicles for her travel on 339 occasions within Delhi and on 64 occasions at other places in the country, sources said. “She used non-BR vehicles against the advice of SPG officers on these visits. Out of total 99 foreign visits that she has undertaken since 1991, she took SPG security cover only on 21 occasions and refused to take the security for other 78 visits. On most such tours, she shared her travel plan at the eleventh hours rendering it impossible for SPG to depute officers for her security,” government sources said.