MHA withdraws SPG security cover to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Manmohan Singhs Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover has been withdrawn by the central government. The SPG is the countrys highest grade of protection given to incumbent and former Prime Ministers and their immediate family. The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement that the decision to downgrade Manmohan Singhs security was taken after review by multiple security agencies. Singh will, however, continue to enjoy a Z Plus security cover. 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, the MHA said. Manmohan Singh had served as the Prime Minister of India for two consecutive terms between 2004 and 2014. The Z Plus is the second-highest security cover in the country after the SPG. The Z Plus category has a security cover of 55 personnel which includes NSG and CRPF commandos. The latest decision to downgrade the security of Manmohan Singh comes months after a review involving the Cabinet Secretariat and the MHA with inputs from various intelligence agencies. Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda had in 2013 asked the Centre to withdraw his SPG security. With the removal of SPG from Manmohan Singh, the highest security cover in the country will now be provided to incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PM Rajiv Gandhis wife Sonia Gandhi and his children Rahul and Priyanka. Earlier in July, the central security cover provided to several leaders from across the political spectrum were downgraded by the government. The leaders include Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad Yasad, former Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav, RSS leader Indresh Kumar, Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalraj Mishra among others.