The bill had already been passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to amend the law governing the elite Special Protection Group. The bill had already been passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
The passage of the amendments to the SPG Act will pave the way for only the Prime Minister and his “immediate family residing with him at his official residence”, as well as any former Prime Minister and members of his immediate family “residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years, from the date he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister,” to be given SPG cover. The Congress has been claiming that SPG Act has been amended only because of political vendetta.
Home minister Amit Shah, rejecting the Opposition’s claim, said the government was concerned about security of all 130 crore Indians and not just the Gandhi family. Participating in the debate over the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Congress MP Vivek Tankha said everyone wants the Gandhi family to be protected and there should not be “a party politics” on it.
“What kind of democracy it is? You are putting the Opposition under threat,” said Mr Tankha, reminding the House about the fateful incidents in which Indira Ganhi and Rajiv Gandhi were killed. BJP MP Neeraj Shekhar, who himself was a SPG protectee for 11 years, being the son for former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar, said there was no need for such a cover for the family of ex-Prime Ministers.
“We are spending money on this, which is not needed,” he said, adding that all previous amendments extending SPG security to former PMs’ family, were wrong.
However, he suggested former PMs and their families should be protected by raising another force.
Addressing the alleged security breach that happened at Priyanka Gandhi’s official residence in November, the home minister said that the breach at Priyanka Gandhi’s residence was coincidental. He said that the security was informed that Rahul Gandhi was due to arrive at his sister’s house in a black SUV. At the exact time that Rahul Gandhi was expected, a black SUV owned by Congress worker Sharda Tyagi arrived there.
He further added, “If they were seriously concerned about Priyanka Gandhi’s security, they could have written a confidential letter to me or to D-G CRPF or the security in charge, instead of raising the issue here or going to the press”.
Mr Shah further said that three officials have been suspended and an inquiry will be conducted by an I-G rank officer of the CRPF. The Congress, which criticised the amendment, walked out of Rajya Sabha, saying it is dissatisfied with the home minister’s reply on amendment to the SPG Act.