Narendra Modi security breach: Supreme Court appoints independent panel to probe Punjab lapse, retired judge to lead it

The order comes after the prime minister's convoy was stranded last Wednesday on a flyover in Ferozepur in Punjab due to a blockade by protesters

FP Staff January 10, 2022 12:59:18 IST
Narendra Modi security breach: Supreme Court appoints independent panel to probe Punjab lapse, retired judge to lead it

File image of Supreme Court. Reuters

The Supreme Court has ordered for an independent committee, to be headed by a former apex court judge to probe Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach in Ferozepur, Punjab last week.

The panel will also comprise of the DGP Chandigarh, the registrar general of Punjab and Haryana High Court, an officer from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and a senior police officer of the Punjab government.

The apex court also asked the BJP-ruled Centre and the Congress government in Punjab to hold the ongoing probes they had ordered.

The direction from the three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli came based on a plea filed by Lawyers' Voice in which the collective said that the breach in the prime minister's security was not merely a law and order problem.

During the hearing of the plea, the Solicitor General, according to an Indian Express report, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's travel was not an unscheduled travel. "The PM was to travel by air on 5 January, but it was intimated to all state agencies that there are climate issues and PM will travel by route also. There was also a rehearsal. There has to be communication that there’s a clear road, and if there’s a blockade stop them 4 kms away. There was complete intelligence failure. If there was violation of SPG Act and blue book, there’s no need of hearing," he said.

On the other hand, senior advocate DS Patwalia, arguing on the behalf of the Punjab government, sought an independent committee be formed to ensure a fair hearing of the matter.

The Punjab AG said: "We will not get a fair hearing from the central government. They issued show-cause notices for disciplinary action against seven officials of the Punjab government. There has been no inquiry; all documents have been seized and the matter is before SC. How did they issue the notices?" he asked.

Earlier, on Friday, the Supreme Court had directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve all records of the prime minister's travel from the state government, its police and central agencies.

During the course of the hearing, the bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana had also asked the counsel representing the Punjab and the central governments to ask the committees set up by them separately to hold their probes till Monday when it will hear the plea next.

A huge row had erupted last Wednesday when the prime minister's convoy was stranded on a flyover in Ferozepur in Punjab due to a blockade by protesters after which he returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.

The incident triggered a major political row with the BJP alleging that the ruling Congress in Punjab "tried to physically harm" the prime minister, while other parties too attacked the state government over the law and order issue.

With inputs from agencies

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