A car for Prime Minister Narendra Modi has led to wide speculations about its hefty price tag, said to be Rs 12 crore. PM Modi’s newest car is a Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Guard. Earlier, he used a Range Rover Vogue, Toyota Land Cruiser and a BMW car.
The replacement car, however, costs much less than what is being reported in the media, sources have said, adding the actual cost is about one-third of the price doing the rounds on social media. Two such cars were bought for the Prime Minister.
The new cars are not an upgrade but a routine replacement after BMW stopped making the model that was used previously, sources said.
The security detail of the Special Protection Group, or SPG, follows a norm of six years to replace vehicles used by people whom they are tasked to protect.
The previous cars had been used by PM Modi for eight years. A security audit flagged this and raised concern that it would weaken security, sources said.
Decisions on buying assets for enhancing a protectee’s security are based on threat perception. They are decided by the SPG without taking the views of the people whom they protect, sources said.
“The widespread discussions on the security features of the protectee’s car is not in national interest as it puts in public domain a lot of unnecessary detail. This only threatens the life of the protectee,” an official with direct knowledge of the matter told NDTV, asking not to be identified.
Sources said PM Modi has not given any preference on which cars to use, but Congress chief Sonia Gandhi used Range Rovers that were bought for former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
The Mercedes-Maybach S 650 Guard offers the highest level of armoured protection available on a production car. The car can withstand high-calibre bullets, thanks to the upgraded windows and body shell.
Power comes from a 6-litre twin-turbo V12 engine. The top speed is restricted to 160 kmph. The car also gets special run-flat tyres that will continue to function in case of damage or puncture to ensure a quick getaway.