The security breach at Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's home last week was an "unlikely coincidence" of Congress workers arriving in the same car, at the same time Rahul Gandhi was expected, Home Minister Amit Shah said in parliament today. A high-level inquiry had nevertheless been ordered and three personnel had been suspended after the incident, he said in Rajya Sabha, replying to a debate on changes to the SPG (Special Protection Group) law that have led to the Gandhis' security being downgraded. The law was passed in the upper house, where the government is in a minority, with three fence-sitting parties backing it.
"If the time comes, even (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi-ji won't be entitled to SPG after five years. He is entitled only to five years of SPG after his term ends," said Amit Shah, defending the move to replace the Gandhis' elite SPG detail with Z-plus security.
SPG, a specialized force of 3,500, is only for the Prime Minister of the country, he asserted. "The Gandhi family has the same security as the Defence Minister, Home Minister, Vice President and President. They have been given personnel who have been in the SPG."
Mr Shah sought to clarify on what the Congress calls a massive security breach, when on November 25 a car with a family drove into Priyanka Gandhi's home in Delhi without being stopped.
According to the Home Minister, Rahul Gandhi was scheduled to visit his sister Priyanka Gandhi at the time, and when a black Tata Safari drove in, no one stopped it. "The car had Congress worker Sharda Tyagi and three others in it instead of Rahul Gandhi," Amit Shah said.
"So the car got in without security checks. This kind of coincidence never happens but still we ordered an inquiry and suspended three officers who were there. We did not want even a .001 per cent chance," said the Home Minister.
This morning, Priyanka Gandhi's husband Robert Vadra called it a "very big" security lapse and said SPG cover should not have been removed for his wife.
Mr Shah said changes to the SPG law were not meant to target one family. "We are not opposing the parivaar (family), but parivaar-vaad (nepotism). India's democracy cannot run like this. Why talk of only the security of the Gandhi family? The security of 130 crore Indians including the Gandhi family is the government's responsibility," he said.