Six months after amending the Special Protection Group (SPG) act, the Union Government on Wednesday issued an order asking Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to vacate the bungalow allocated to her in Lutyens Bungalow Zone (LBZ).

A notice sent by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has asked the Congress leader to vacate her government bungalow, 35 Lodhi Estate, in Delhi by August 1. It also said her allotment stood cancelled from today and she owed Rs 3.46 lakh in dues to the government. Priyanka and her family have been allotted the bungalow, Type 6B, in 1997 as she was an SPG protectee.

“Consequent upon withdrawal of SPG protection and grant of Z-plus security cover by Ministry of Home of Affairs, which does not have provision for allotment/retention of Government accommodation on security grounds to you, the allotment of Type 6B house no. 35 Lodhi Estate, New Delhi is hereby cancelled w.e.f 01/-07/2020. One month concessional period on the same rent ie upto 01.08.2020 is allowed as per rules,” the notice said.

It also warned that any stay beyond August 1 would “attract damage charges/penal rent as per rules”.

The government had in November last year replaced the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, with Z-plus security by the CRPF based on the threat assessment by security agencies. The three were under SPG cover since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

Last December, the Parliament passed the SPG (Amendment) Bill that limits SPG protection only to the Prime Minister and his family and to a former PM and his family for five years.

During the debate, Home Minister Amit Shah had rejected Congress charges of “political vendetta” and said that the Gandhis had “flouted security rules around 600 times” while Congress’ Manish Tewari had pointed out similar step by the V P Singh government had led to the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. “Whenever there was a negative move, the country had to face the brunt,” Tewari had said.

However, Shah had maintained that the SPG would be focussing on the Prime Minister’s personal security, health, communication and secure the PMO and Prime Minister’s residence.
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