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Thursday, Dec 12, 2019

Govt explains what led to breach at Priyanka’s home; three suspended

Earlier in the day, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra described it as a “very big” security lapse and alleged that it was a “political move” to remove SPG cover for the Gandhi family

india Updated: Dec 04, 2019 05:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Three security officers have been suspended and a high-level probe has been ordered into a security lapse at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s residence
Three security officers have been suspended and a high-level probe has been ordered into a security lapse at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s residence
         

Three security officers have been suspended and a high-level probe has been ordered into a security lapse at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s residence, Union home minister Amit Shah informed Parliament on Tuesday.

Replying to a debate on amendments to the Special Protection Group (SPG) bill, Shah maintained that it was a “coincidence” that some Congress supporters haddriveninto her residenceon November 26at a time when her brother Rahul Gandhi had been expected to visit her.

The breach of Priyanka Gandhi’s security saw frequent mentions during the debate on the SPG bill in the Rajya Sabha. Congress leaders cited the incident to demand that the government retain SPG protection for the Gandhi family. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and members of some other parties, too, expressed concern, but questioned the Congress’s insistence on SPG cover for members of the Gandhi family.

“The security got information that Rahul Gandhi would come to meet her in a black Tata Safari. This information was at the gate of the house. One black Tata Safari came. Instead of Rahul Gandhi, Sharda Tyagi, the chairperson of Kharkhoda Meerut Congress committee, came to meet Priyanka Gandhi in the vehicle with four party workers,” Shah told the Upper House.

“Since the vehicle was of the same make and colour which entered the residence around the same time, they entered without going through security control arrangements. It was a coincidence,” Shah added, but also wondered why the principal Opposition party decided to publicize it.

“You should not publicize this if you are really concerned about their security. If you want to do politics then you can tell the press and also tell the House. You could have written a letter to the DG {drector general} CRPF {Central Reserve Police Force}, their security in-charge, or to me,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra described it as a “very big” security lapse and alleged that it was a “political move” to remove SPG cover for the Gandhi family. Priyanka Gandhi had maintained that removal of SPG cover was “a part of politics and this keeps happening.”

“Our security is not important as much as the security of the women in the country. The government should think about it at the national and state level. Our security and of our children is on second level, we have to think about the security of women first,” Robert Vadra told reporters at Jaipur airport.

“The government would know why they took the call to remove the SPG cover...whatever they do we will face it. People of the country are with us and they will give us security,” he said.

In a Facebook post, Vadra claimed that security throughout the country had been compromised. “It is not about the security for Priyanka, my daughter and son or me or the Gandhi family.. It’s about keeping our citizens especially the women of our country, safe and secure,” he said.

In the debate, Congress MP Vivek Tankha said, “newspapers have reported about an incident which happened in Priyanka Gandhi’s residence. But how did the security lapse? It happened because you have lowered the security level.”

BJP MP Neeraj Shekhar, son of late former PM Chandra Shekar, said: “the incident should be investigated and culprits should be punished”. He also demanded that Priyanka Gandhi’s security be “enhanced” and if “there are now 10 security personnel, let there be 20 guards”.

“But I fail to understand why only SPG is needed for protection,” he added.

Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said the government should not put someone’s life in danger for “settling cheap political scores” while the party’s Lok Sabha floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that his party wanted to protest over the security breach at Priyanka Gandhi’s residence, but all “dissenting” voices were being “throttled”.

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Vinoy Biswam, too, supported the demand for SPG cover for Priyanka and other members of the Gandhi family. “She is the daughter of the Congress Party’s president. We know that family. That family’s political and economic policies may be wrong many times but they have a reason to live in this country. So, their SPG security is very important for the country,” Biswam said.