Although former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his family are perceived to face “residual threat” because of his non-political personality and non-controversial 10-year reign, there would be no let-up in the security cover for them.
Earlier this month, the Cabinet Secretariat moved a proposal to create 235 additional posts in the Special Protection Group (SPG), solely for “providing security coverage at 3, Motilal Nehru Place” — the retirement home of Singh and his immediate family.
Sources said although the 235 new posts were earmarked for Singh’s residence, personnel from these could also be deployed at other stations and for other assignments as well.
The elite SPG will take care of the internal and external periphery of the house, while Delhi Police personnel would be stationed outside. Working in four shifts, 165 commandos would be deployed to man the precinct, including the four guard stations and a security post with a screener at the entrance.
Expense for the commandos, their senior officers and security equipment was not immediately known but a government official said it would be nearly Rs 19 crore. The proposal has been sent to Finance Ministry for approval as the 2014 interim budget of Rs 408.98 crore did not cater for the additional posts.
Currently, the SPG has about 3,000 personnel drawn from various police and paramilitary forces such as BSF, CISF, CRPF and ITBP. Sources said the outfit has a flexible structure, unlike the ‘brick’ formation in other fighting units, with most intakes at inspector level and above.
Singh would enjoy formidable security as former PM for one year from the date on which he demitted office. However, his security necessity would be reviewed every year, taking into account the threat from militant or terrorist organisations and whether the threat is of grave and continuing nature.
Cover to former PMs and their immediate families was included through an amendment of the SPG Act in 1991 after the assassination of former PM Rajiv Gandhi in May that year.