Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's top Special Protection Group (SPG) security has been withdrawn.
He will have Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) cover, the home ministry has decided after what it calls a routine assessment taking the inputs of all agencies.
Reportedly, Manmohan Singh's security has been reassessed as part of an annual exercise to review the SPG cover that only a select few are entitled to. The elite force, which guards the country's most protected politicians, will now be tasked with guarding only four people – Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
A home ministry official said "The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on professional assessment by security agencies. Dr. Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover."
As per reports, similar security was also withdrawn from former prime ministers HD Deve Gowda and VP Singh two decades ago. Another former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who was not seen in public in his last few years because of his illness, had SPG cover till he died in 2018.
It may be stated that the SPG was set up in 1985 specifically for the security of prime ministers after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her security guards a year before. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former PMs and their families for 10 years.