The Gandhi family will now get 'Z+' security by the CRPF on an all-India basis. The government had recently withdrawn the SPG cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
NEW DELHI: The government has decided to withdraw the SPG cover of all three members of the Gandhi family — Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

They will now be extended Z-plus category protection by CRPF, according to a decision taken by the home ministry based on their threat perception.

In August this year, the government had withdrawn SPG cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, over five years after he demitted office. He was also given Z-plus security cover with CRPF.

The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984. SPG Act was passed in 1988 extending protection by the force to only the Prime Minister. When VP Singh unseated Rajiv Gandhi from the top post in 1989, the government automatically withdrew SPG protection for Gandhi. After Rajiv was assassinated in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to make former Prime Ministers and their families eligible for SPG cover for a period of at least 10 years.

The Act was further amended in 2003 to provide for renewal of SPG cover to ex-PMs and their immediate family members for a period of one year from the date on which the former PM ceased to hold office and beyond one year based on the level of threat as decided by the Central Government.

However, it stipulates that not more than twelve months shall elapse between two consecutive assessments. While assessing the level of threat, the central government takes into account, among other things, if the threat emanates from any militant or terrorist organisation or any other source and if it is of a grave and continuing nature.