SPG cover withdrawal led to Priyanka's 'security breach': Robert Vadra

Priyanka Gandhi

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's husband Robert Vadra on Tuesday described as a "very big" security lapse the incident of unidentified people driving up to the porch of their home last week, and alleged that the removal of the Gandhi family's SPG cover was a "political" move.

The Congress general secretary's office has taken up the issue of the November 26 security breach with the Central Reserve Police Force.

"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.

Asked about the security breach at their residence, he said it was a "very big lapse", but he would like to emphasise more on the safety of women in the country.

"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.

Several senior Congress leaders also expressed concern over the alleged security breach with AICC general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal saying the government should not put someone's life in danger for "settling cheap political scores".

"The massive security breach at the residence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra proves that with the withdrawal of SPG protection, Modi and Shah together have put the lives of our leaders at risk," he said in a tweet.

The car drove right up to the porch near the garden at Priyanka Gandhi's Lodhi Estate home with three men, three women and a girl coming out of the vehicle, sources said. They walked up to Priyanka Gandhi and asked for photos to be taken with her.

She spoke with them nicely, they took pictures with her and then left, the sources said.

On whether there was any response from the Home Ministry over the security breach at their home, Robert Vadra answered in the negative and said "whatever they want to do, they do".

The threat perception everyone knows is very sensitive but nobody is looking at it, he alleged.

Asked if the removal of the SPG cover a "political" move or agenda-driven, he said "all this is political".

Earlier, in a Facebook post, Robert Vadra claimed that security throughout the country is 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.

"Security throughout the country is compromised... Girls are being molested/raped, What society are we creating...?" he asked, adding that the security of every citizen is the government's responsibility.

"If we are not safe in our own country, our homes, not safe on roads, not safe in the day or at night, where and when are we safe," he asked.

The Centre last month replaced the SPG (Special Protection Group) cover of the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, with 'Z-plus' security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force.

Under Z-plus security, they are being protected by CRPF commandos in close proximity besides guards at their homes and where ever they travel in the country.

To reporters' queries on SPG cover being removed from the Gandhi family, Priyanka Gandhi had earlier simply replied, "It's part of politics and this keeps happening."

The Gandhis are without SPG protection after 28 years. They were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in September, 1991 in the SPG Act of 1988.

On November 27, the Lok Sabha passed a bill to amend the SPG Act.

According to the amendment, the SPG will now protect the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.

It will also provide security to former prime ministers and their immediate family members staying with them at the residence allotted for a period of five years from the date on which they cease to hold the office.



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