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PM Modi’s Security Breach in Punjab: SC Appoints Ex-Judge Indu Malhotra to Head Probe Committee
The Prime Minister was stuck atop a flyover for 15-20 minutes while on his way to Ferozpur, Punjab earlier this month due to the road being blocked by some protesters.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed its former judge Indu Malhotra as chairperson of the five-member probe committee that will investigate PM Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab last week. A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana also appointed the Inspector General of the National Investigation Agency, Director General of Police of Chandigarh, the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Additional DGP (Security) of Punjab as members of the Justice Malhotra panel.
The top court directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to provide all the seized documents pertaining to the security arrangements made by the Punjab government for the PM’s January 5 visit immediately to the panel head. The bench also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said that it was expected that the panel would file its report shortly.
Earlier on Monday, the apex court had said that it will constitute an independent committee headed by a retired top court judge to investigate the security lapse during PM Modi’s visit to Punjab’s Ferozepur on January 5. While hearing on the matter on Monday, the Supreme Court stayed the ongoing inquiries by two separate panels of the Centre and the Punjab government into the security breach and said that it will set up an independent probe committee that will include DGP Chandigarh, IG National Investigation Agency, Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and ADGP (security) of Punjab in the Committee.
The bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said that a formal order to this effect will be passed shortly on setting up of the panel to which the DGP Chandigarh, IG of NIA and the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana HC may be part. The top court was hearing the plea of an organisation, Lawyers Voice, seeking a thorough investigation into the breach in Prime Minister Modi’s security in Punjab to ensure there is no such event in the future.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court also questioned the issuing of show-cause notices to seven Punjab government officials ranging from the chief secretary to a senior superintendent of police for the breach. The apex court’s observation came after the Punjab government pointed out the issuance of show causes notices to its officials, despite a stay put by the court on ongoing parallel inquiries into the lapses.
The show-cause notices were issued before the order of this court, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta replied to a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana. The bench, also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said that when the parallel inquiries by the central and state committees were put on hold on January 7 by it, then how these notices have been issued.
On January 5, the prime minister’s convoy was stranded on a flyover for 15-20 minutes due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur after which he returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending any event, including a rally. The Ministry of Home Affairs termed it as a “major lapse” in his security.