Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s security cover has been downgraded from the SPG (Special Protection Group) rank to Z+ by the Ministry of Home Affairs which is headed by Amit Shah. According to the MHA sources, the security cover has been reviewed as a periodical and professional exercise, based on the threat perception.
The elite force, which guards the country’s most protected politicians, will now be tasked with guarding only four people — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee was protected by an SPG cover until his death in 2018.
“The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on professional assessment by security agencies. Dr. Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover,” a home ministry official said.
Sources close to Manmohan Singh, who was prime minister for 10 years from 2004 to 2014, say he is “personally not concerned about his security” and will go by the government’s decision.
The SPG has over 3,000 personnel. Based on threat perception, the special group covers Prime Ministers as well as former Prime Ministers and their families.
Manmohan Singh’s daughters had already given up SPG protection in 2014, when the Congress lost power to the BJP.
The SPG was set up in 1985 specifically for the security of prime ministers after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her security guards a year before.
After the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former PMs and their families for 10 years.
Manmohan Singh currently serves as a Rajya Sabha member. He took oath as a member of the Upper House for his sixth term on Friday.