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PM Modi Security Lapse: SC Directs HC To Secure Records Of PM Punjab Visit; Asks Centre, State To Pause Probes
Modi's Security Breach LIVE Updates: Meanwhile, the Centre on Thursday set up a three-member panel to investigate the security breach that stalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Punjab trip.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday heard a petition seeking a thorough probe into the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab on Wednesday. The plea was filed by the NGO Lawyers Voice. It sought action against those responsible for the security lapse and appropriate directions to the Punjab government to prevent the recurrence of such an incident in the future. The apex court also asked the Punjab government to ensure that all records and materials pertaining to the Prime Minister’s movements be immediately secured in the custody of the registrar-general of the Punjab & Haryana high court.
The Supreme Court further directed the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve the travel records of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Punjab forthwith. The apex court also ordered the Punjab and police authorities, SPG, and other Central and State agencies to cooperate and provide necessary assistance to seal the entire record.
PM’s security is not merely a law & order problem: Maninder Singh
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for NGO Lawyers Voice that filed the petition, told the Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, that “This is not a law and order issue but it falls under the Special Protection Group Act. It’s just now about law and order in the state. Please see section 14 of SPG Act.”
Maninder Singh says that it is the duty of the Centre and state or the UT and other local authority to act in aid of the director of any member of the SPG. “The issue if the SPG Act and the duty to give assistance to the SPG came for your lordships consideration in a case regarding a former PM’s trial in a corruption case. The court had held that PM security cannot be waived even if he wants to waive security,” he said.
Senior Advocate Singh further said under the SPG act, it is not issue of state subject or law and order. The issue of PM’s protection is a national security issue and comes under parliamentary purview. “In this trip there was an impermissible stoppage of PM Cavalcade and this is the highest breach.. this cannot happen,” he said.
He continued, “Need of the hour is that all documents pertaining to the entire trip (of PM Modi) from Bathinda to Ferozepur and Hussainiwala be taken into custody by the district magistrate in cooperation with the NIA.
“Investigation must be undertaken with the evidence protected,” he said, adding that the probe must be undertaken by rising above the state and central politics.
Punjab govt cannot investigate PM’s security breach case, solicitor general tells SC
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Supreme Court bench that banned organisation Sikhs for Justice made public call for action against the PM during his Punjab visit. “This could be potentially an incident of international terrorism,” SG Mehta said.
SG Mehta argues that inquiry into the PM’s security breach case cannot be investigated by state inquiry committee. “The committee ought not to have been constituted by the state. It’s a deliberate attempt to overreach the judicial process,” SG Mehta said, adding that the presence of an NIA officer is absolutely necessary.
Local police was having tea with the protesters: Solicitor General tells SC
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, says, “I’m grateful that this court has taken cognisance of a rarest of rare issue. The incident had serious potential to cause international embarrassment.”
“The PM cavalcade, when it moves on the road, the DGP of the state is consulted. Only after he clears that the road is clear, that the cavalcade moves. The DG in-charge did not give any such warning of road blockages,” he said.
SG Mehta said there is also a warning car ahead of the PM’s convoy. “Local police was having tea with the protesters. They did not inform the warning car about the blockade on the flyover,” he said.
SC orders registrar general of Punjab and Haryana HC to collect PM’s travel record
CJI NV Ramana asked both the Centre and Punjab government to order committees constituted by them to probe the PM’s security breach not take any action till Monday. “We deem it appropriate to direct the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve the travel records of the PM,” the CJI said.
“We direct Punjab Police authorities, SPG and other agencies to cooperate and provide necessary assistance to seal the entire record,” he added.
High-level panel formed, case filed, report within 3 days
The Punjab government on Friday submitted a report to the Union Home Ministry informing it of the developments into the matter. In a “major security lapse”, PM Modi’s convoy was stranded on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur on Wednesday after which he returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.
Punjab Chief Secretary, Anirudh Tewari, on Friday wrote a letter to the Union Home Secretary informing him that the Punjab police have registered a case and the state government has constituted a two-member high-level committee to investigate the matter. The letter also mentioned that the committee will submit its report to the state government within three days.
Major security lapse
The prime minister’s convoy was stranded on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur on Wednesday after which he returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.
The Union Home Ministry had directed the state government to file an immediate report, saying it did not ensure the required deployment, while Home Minister Amit Shah had said that such dereliction of the security procedure during the prime minister’s visit was totally unacceptable and accountability would be fixed.