SPG Withdrawal: Congress May Move Court Citing Verma Report
New Delhi: Withdrawal of SPG cover to the Gandhi family has made the Congress angry, with the party alleging the Gandhis are being targeted by the Prime Minister and Home Minister. The Congress, which has termed the move as “sinister and vindictive politics”, may take legal recourse in the matter, said sources.
Party leader Randeep Surjewala said, “We will see what we can do on this”.
The Congress party has made it clear that there was a rumour a month ago about the SPG security to be withdrawn. Taking cognizance of it, former prime minister Manmohan Singh had written to Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on November 4.
In the letter, the former PM alleged that “the consistent pattern of leakage of sensitive security-related information regarding these SPG protectees to the media, including daily press and television media, is a direct breach of security from within the Government.”
The letter also cited the Justice J.S. Verma report of 1992 in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case that found that apparent security lapses led to the killing of the former Prime Minister.
The party intends to use the Verma report to make a strong case against withdrawal of SPG cover.
The J.S. Verma report says: “Failure of the IB to fully and properly calibrate this threat, foresee the attack made and disseminate the information with the requisite further guidelines and instruction to the state agencies, was a lapse of the IB and the MHA amounting to the contributory factors.”
The party says that if in the case of Rajiv Gandhi, the IB was unable to gauge the threat perception, it may not be able to judge properly in the current scenario too.
The Congress has also cited letters from SPG on four occasions in the past — two in 2018, one on June 6 this year and another in August A — on the threat perception to Rahul Gandhi.
Party’s chief spokesperson Surjewala said on Friday that Rahul Gandhi has threat from Al Qaeda, Khalistani terror groups and Naxals. He said, sarcastically, that the Modi government, which advised the SPG to accompany the Gandhi family on foreign tours has now taken a U-turn.
Surjewala also rubbished BJP’s allegation of the Gandhi family not following the SPG protocol.
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself “travelled in open car and walked for a few hundred meters on his return from the US. He also ensures that no SPG personnel come in his way.”
The Congress plans to make this a big issue and will raise it in the winter session of Parliament.
The youth wing of the party has also started protests against the government decision.