A day after Rahul Gandhi alleged that an RSS intervention forced a former SPG chief to quit, the Home Ministry countered stating that the Congress president’s remark was “baseless” and “devoid of fact”.

“The comment reportedly made by Gandhi through the media is baseless, devoid of fact and unfortunate, coming from an SPG protectee,” the ministry said in a statement.

Referring to Gandhi’s comment, which was issued at New Delhi on 22 September, the Home Ministry said, “SPG is a professional organisation which takes its task of protecting serving Prime Ministers, former Prime Ministers and their families entrusted to its security, very seriously and in the highest professional spirit. The comment reportedly made by Gandhi through the media is baseless, devoid of fact and unfortunate, coming from an SPG protectee.”

Gandhi had alleged that an SPG Chief appointed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to quit because he refused to accept a list of SPG officers handpicked by the RSS.

While alleging that RSS was “systematically capturing” educational institutions, the Supreme Court and the Election Commission of India and others, the 48-year-old Congress chief said, “When Mr (Narendra) Modi came to power, a person from Gujarat was chosen to head the SPG. In a short time, he left the position. He told me that he refused a list of SPG officers handpicked by the RSS, and that is why he was sent home.”

In response, the Home Ministry said that the “officer in question, Vivek Srivastava, former Director, Special Protection Group (SPG), has specifically averred that he did not have any such conversation with Rahul Gandhi at any point of time”.

“The officer has stated that as part of his professional duties he interacted with SPG protectees; however, he has categorically stated that during his interaction with Shri Gandhi, there was no talk whatsoever regarding the appointment of a new Director, or the reasons for his leaving SPG,” read the statement.