Longest serving chief of SPG to retire soon | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Longest serving chief of SPG to retire soon

For seven years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have trusted him with their lives. Next week, Bharat Vir Wanchoo - the longest serving chief of the Special Protection Group (SPG) - will step down on retirement. Aloke Tikku writes.

delhi Updated: Oct 23, 2011 22:05 IST
Aloke Tikku

For seven years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi have trusted him with their lives. Next week, Bharat Vir Wanchoo - the longest serving chief of the Special Protection Group (SPG) - will step down on retirement.

Wanchoo has spent the last seven years of his career leading the SPG, created to protect present and former prime ministers and their families after Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984.

"He knows his job inside out," a senior police officer who has worked closely with the SPG chief said.

A West Bengal cadre police officer, Wanchoo's first stint with the SPG was way back in the mid-eighties when the specialised force had just been born. Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister then.

After completing his first stint, he has been in and out of the force on assignments to protect the Congress president. In recent months, he spent a considerable period abroad overseeing Gandhi's security when she would go for treatment.

"There is no one who knows his job as well as he does," said a director general of police-rank officer posted in Delhi, who worked with Wanchoo in his younger years.

This is one reason why he was quickly appointed to head the SPG in 2004 when the UPA government was voted to power in Delhi. By then, Wanchoo had already spent 10 years.

In the intelligence bureau too, where he spent about four-five years, Wanchoo's job profile required him to coordinate protection of India's most threatened politicians.

His colleagues insist that Wanchoo would not ask for an extension as had been widely speculated.

"He is far too convinced that substantive posts should never be held by officers on extension," one of them said.