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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

Fearing threats, govt may extend SPG cover to President

Rajesh Ahuja , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 14, 2013
First Published: 23:55 IST(14/7/2013) | Last Updated: 02:00 IST(15/7/2013)

Seriously worried about the grave threat to President Pranab Mukherjee after he rejected mercy petitions of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist Ajmal Kasab and Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, the government is deliberating on the possibility of bringing him under the cover of Special Protection Group (SPG).

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The President is currently guarded by the Delhi police.

"Many Pakistan-based terror groups have openly talked about revenge for hanging of Kasab and Guru. An idea has been floated and circulated amongst all stakeholders,  like the ministry of home affairs, ministry of defence since the President is supreme commander of the armed forces, the Delhi police, the Intelligence Bureau, to bring the President under the SPG cover to beef up his security," said a security source.

A similar view is also held with regard to security of vice president Hamid Ansari, though, in his case the threat is not as grave.

Security sources say providing SPG cover to the President and vice president is a long drawn process, which will entail an amendment in the SPG Act that so far only provides for security to the prime minister, former prime ministers and their immediate families.

"Almost two years back, a proposal was formulated to form a close proximity security group for guarding those VVIPs in whose case the threat perception was very high. But the proposal… just fizzled out midway," said a security official requesting anonymity.

Sources say that in the meantime the security establishment has asked the presidential security detail to be very watchful, especially during Mukherjee's road travels outside Delhi, the threat to whom is higher than that of even the PM.


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