NATIONAL

SPG gears up to protect next PM

Based on the threat assessment by the Intelligence Bureau, the Special Protection Group (SPG) plans to take over security arrangements for the next Prime Minister and his immediate family members. Preparations, however, will be given a final shape only when the election results are out on Friday.

As projected by exit polls, should the Bharatiya Janata Party emerge victorious and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi anointed, SPG cover will be extended to him.

“Again, at what stage the force will take over his security will entirely depend on the level of threat perception. Usually, SPG cover is given after the PM-designate meets the President and stakes claim to form the government,” an official said.

As mandated under the SPG Act, security arrangements will also be made for Mr. Modi’s wife Jashodaben, who lives in Rajosana village of Banaskantha, and his mother Hiraben, who lives in Gandhinagar. “The Act unambiguously states that security has to be given to Prime Minister, former Prime Ministers and members of their immediate families, wherever he or they may be,” he said.

Accordingly, based on the Intelligence Bureau inputs, the SPG will take measures to ensure security of the protectees, who can be persuaded but not be forced to shift premises, in accordance with the level of threat perception.

The SPG had to set up local stations for the immediate family members of the then Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

Another case cited by government officials is that of the former Prime Minister, P.V. Narasimha Rao, who was summoned by a Delhi court as an accused in the JMM bribery case and faced possible judicial custody, raising questions as to how the SPG would carry out its duties.

The Supreme Court had then held that SPG cover “cannot be lifted from the protectee. It goes with the person of the protectee as the shadow would a man. It is for the SPG to devise how to render meaningful protection to the protectee wherever he is.”

“If Mr. Modi — who already has National Security Guard cover — takes over as the next Prime Minister, steps will be taken to ensure a smooth handover,” another official said.