SPG cover to the next PM, immediate family members

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Based on a threat assessment by the Intelligence Bureau, the Special Protection Group (SPG) plans to take over the security arrangements for the next Prime Minister and his immediate family members. However, the preparations would be given a final shape only when the election results are out on Friday.

As projected by exit polls, in case the Bharatiya Janata Party emerges victorious and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi makes it to the top post, SPG cover would be extended to him. “Again, at what stage the force would take over his security would entirely depend upon the level of threat perception involved. Usually, SPG cover is given after the PM-designate visits the President and stakes claim for the formation of a new government,” said an official.

As mandated under the SPG Act, security arrangements would also be made for Mr. Modi’s wife Jashodaben, who lives in Rajosana village of Banaskantha, and his mother Hiraben, a resident of Gandhinagar in Gujarat. “The Act unambiguously states that security has to be given proximate security to the Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families, wherever he or they may be,” he said.

Accordingly, based on the Intelligence Bureau inputs, the SPG would take necessary measures to ensure security of the protectees, who can be persuaded but not be forced to shift premises, in accordance with the level of threat perception.

The SPG had earlier encountered a similar situation when the force had to set up local stations for the immediate family members of the then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

Another case cited by government officials is that of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao who was summoned by a Delhi court as an accused in the JMM bribery case and faced a possible judicial custody, raising questions as to how the SPG would carry out its duty.

The Supreme Court had then held that SPG cover “cannot be lifted from the protectee. It goes with the person of the protectee as the shadow would a man. It is for the SPG to devise how to render meaningful protection to the protectee wherever he is”.

“Therefore, we are bound to provide security to the protectees wherever they are and as per their comfort. Following consultations with the protectees, the State Police and intelligence unit, necessary changes would be brought about to secure the person(s). If Mr. Modi — who already has a National Security Guard cover — takes over as the next Prime Minister, steps would be taken to ensure a smooth handover,” said another official.

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