The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has asked the Special Protection Group (SPG) to provide the bulletproof cars earlier assigned to the protection of the Gandhi family, to the paramilitary unit as it does not have the armoured vehicles for the VIPS, said two government officials.
The SPG had bullet-resistant Tata Safaris, Scorpio and sedans which were previously employed for the safety of the Gandhi family. On 8th November, the Gandhi family’s protection was revoked instead a designating CPRF will now provide them with the Z-Plus category protection in which over 100 armed commandos are deployed for each person’s security.
The CPRF designated to the five SPG protectees – Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his wife Gursharan Kaur, for the first time did not have any bulletproof or bomb-proof vehicles in the commercial category in its VIP wing. Its mine-protected vehicles and bullet-resistant sports utility vehicle are currently deployed in Jammu and Kashmir and in areas where Maoist rebels are active.
The first ministry of home affairs official said on condition of anonymity said, “CRPF is in touch with SPG through us for procuring the bullet-resistant vehicles used by the Gandhi family because purchasing new vehicles is a long process...SPG anyway has several unused bullet-resistant cars”.
The SPG cars previously used in former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s convoys from 2004 to 2014 and personal travel have been handed over to CRPF. The MHA’s Yellow Book on security guidelines of paramilitary forces and police says that the state governments/police are supposed to provide bulletproof cars and outer peripheral security to any Z-Plus category security cover protectee.