CRPF asks SPG for bulletproof vehicles earlier earmarked for Gandhi family
The SPG had bullet-resistant Tata Safaris, Scorpio and sedans were used for the Gandhi family’s protection.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has asked the Special Protection Group (SPG) to provide its bulletproof cars, earlier earmarked for the Gandhi family, to the paramilitary unit because it doesn’t have armoured vehicles to ferry around VIPs, two home ministry officials familiar with the developments said.
The SPG had bullet-resistant Tata Safaris, Scorpio and sedans were used for the Gandhi family’s protection. On November 8, the government withdrew the SPG cover of the Gandhi family, designating CRPF to provide them the Z-Plus category protection in which over 100 armed commandos are deployed for each person’s security.
CRPF, which has taken over the security of five SPG protectees – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur, for the first time --did not have any bulletproof or bomb-proof vehicles in the commercial category in its VIP wing. Its mine-protected vehicles and bullet-resistant sports utility vehicles are being used in J&K and in areas where Maoist rebels are active.
“CRPF is in touch with SPG through us for procuring the bullet-resistant vehicles used by the Gandhi family because purchasing new vehicles is a long process...SPG anyway has several unused bullet-resistant cars,” the first ministry of home affairs official said on condition of anonymity.
SPG cars earlier used in Manmohan Singh’s convoys (when he was PM from 2004 to 2014) and personal travel have been handed over to CRPF.According to the MHA’s Yellow Book on security guidelines of paramilitary forces and police, state governments/police are supposed to provide bulletproof cars and outer peripheral security to any Z-Plus category security cover protectee. The second MHA official cited above said the CRPF security for the Gandhi family was not different from SPG cover. “Most of the men, approximately 35% personnel, in CRPF’s VIP security battalions have at some point been in SPG on deputation so they have experience in VIP arrangements,” he said.