PM security breach: Ex-judge Indu Malhotra to head probe committee
A committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Indu Malhotra will probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Punjab visit on January 5, the court said on Wednesday. The committee will investigate the cause of the breach, the persons responsible for it, and to what extent remedial measures to prevent similar security breaches of VVIPs are necessary in the future.
Why does this story matter?
- The SC order came while hearing a petition filed by an organization named Lawyer's Voice.
- The petition sought to fix responsibility on the Punjab government and its officials for the alleged security breach of PM Modi during his Punjab visit.
- However, the ruling Congress government in Punjab has denied any lapse in the PM's security.
Who all are part of the committee?
Besides Malhotra, the SC-constituted panel will comprise the Director General of the National Investigation Agency, the Director General of Security of Punjab, and the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Notably, the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court has already seized records relating to the PM's visit. The SC directed the committee to submit its report "at the earliest."
Can't rely on one-sided inquiry: SC
The order was passed by an SC bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli. The SC said the questions related to the breach "can't be left to one-sided inquiries." "A judicially trained independent mind duly assisted with officers well acquired with security issues and Registrar General of HC who seized records would be best placed..." it said.
SC pushed for independent probe
During Monday's hearing, the SC had decided to constitute an independent committee to probe the security breach. It had also asked the central and the Punjab governments to put on hold the respective probe committees constituted by them. Last week, it had also directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana HC to secure the records of the PM's visit.
Serious and deliberate lapses, alleges plea
The petition had urged the SC to take cognizance of the serious and deliberate lapse on part of Punjab, its Chief Secretary, and its Director General of Police concerning the PM's security. The breach was intentional, alleged the petition, raising questions on national security. It further urged the SC to initiate proceedings against erring officials, considering them part of a pre-planned conspiracy.
What had happened in Punjab?
On January 5, PM Modi canceled his visit to Punjab's Ferozepur after his cavalcade was grounded for over 20 minutes on a flyover due to a road blockade by protesting farmers. The Union Home Ministry called it a "major security lapse." The incident has sparked a political row as both Punjab's ruling Congress and Modi's BJP accuse each other of foul play.