New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led government on Monday dismissed as “baseless” Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s statement that a former Special Protection Group (SPG) chief had to quit because he refused to accept a list of officers hand-picked by Hindu fundamentalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a statement negating Gandhi’s claim that former SPG chief Vivek Srivastava was removed because he refused to comply with RSS’ instructions.

“It has been reported in a section of the media that Rahul Gandhi commented that the SPG Chief appointed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to quit because he refused to accept a list of SPG officers hand-picked by RSS. The matter has been verified. The officer in question has specifically averred that he did not have any such conversation with Rahul Gandhi at any point of time,” the statement read.

The Home Ministry said that SPG was a professional organisation which took its task of protecting serving Prime Ministers (PMs), former PMs and their families entrusted to its security, very seriously.

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

On Saturday, Gandhi while interacting with university teachers, had said, “when Narendra Modi came to power, an officer was chosen from Gujarat to head SPG. He came to see me and said he was leaving. I asked why? He said I have a list of people that RSS wants to be put in SPG. I refused, that’s why.”

Gandhi had further alleged that institutions such as Supreme Court and Election Commission were being “systematically captured” by RSS.

“India cannot be run on one single idea. There is a feeling among the people that one ideology is being imposed upon them. RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat in his earlier speeches has said: ‘we are going to organise the nation’. Who is he to organise the nation? The nation will organise itself. In next couple of months, their fantasy will be smashed,” Gandhi asserted.