The Special Protection Group (SPG) protection given to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been withdrawn following a review by multiple security agencies but he will continue to get Z plus security, officials said on Monday.
A former security official termed the decision “unfortunate”, saying another former Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had enjoyed SPG cover till his death last year even after leaving office in 2004.
Miffed with the Centre over the withdrawal of former PM Manmohan Singh's SPG protection, leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, said on Monday "security cover should not be removed selectively" and such decisions should be taken as per norms.
A spokesperson for the Union home ministry said on Monday the decision to downgrade Singh’s cover followed a three-month review involving the cabinet secretariat, with inputs from intelligence agencies.
“The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on professional assessment by security agencies. Dr Manmohan Singh continues to have Z-plus security cover,” the spokesperson said.
The removal of Singh’s SPG cover also means the 3,000-strong elite force will now guard only four VIPs — Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.