The Supreme Court has appointed a five-member committee to probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab on January 5.
During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was stranded ten kilometres from the Pakistan border when he was on his way to address a political rally in Ferozepur.
The committee, headed by former Supreme Court judge Indu Malhotra, will also probe is there was any criminal conspiracy in the incident.
“Indian Air Force logs would be scanned to see what reports were handed by them to SPG and whether they had given security clearance for the chopper to fly PM from Bhatinda to rally site or if they had declined like is being projected,” a senior NIA official told NDTV.
According to the official, the main issue to be probed would be on who took the call to take the Prime Minister by road.
“Role of SPG and Punjab Police relating to inputs provided by Intelligence Bureau would be examined,” he said.
Interestingly IB has informed MHA that they had shared inputs with Punjab government stating that “some sort of demonstration or agitation” could take place when PM would be on his way to Hussainiwala.
As per official records of MHA , IB in fact also warned state police that Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of the proscribed Sikhs For Justice had been provoking local youths and luring them with money. Issuing a general alert, it asked the Punjab Government to remain vigilant as the venue of the PM’s function was close to the border with Pakistan.
“The incident shows that those responsible for PM’s security and the decision-making heads that fateful day lack professionalism. They should follow the rule book and not bow down to pressure,” states a former IB Director adding that both Punjab Police and SPG must be held accountable this lackasicidical attitude.
“If SPG had followed its drills then a safe house enroute would have been earmarked by them, Why did they not take PM to safe house when they learnt agitating farmers are blocking road. Why was the premier of the country left stranded,” he adds.
As per the drill, the PM cavalcade moves in a bubble with pilot car leading it and tail car in the end. “When advance security liaising team visits area where PM has to travel all routes and points are sanitised. Fact that BJP supporters could reach the elevated road just across where PM cavalcade was stuck is a serious criminal lapse,” states a senior official who was part of VIP security set up.
The contents of the Blue Book, which contains an unambiguous and detailed procedure to be observed by the state authorities and the special protection to ensure full safety and security of the prime minister while he is touring a state, would also be examined.
As per sources, the committee would also examine videos showing the PM sitting in the car and SPG personnel surrounding the vehicle.
On January 5, Modi’s convoy was stranded on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur after which he returned from Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.
The top court’s order has come on the plea of an organisation, Lawyers Voice, seeking a thorough investigation into the breach in PM Modi’s security in Punjab to ensure there is no such incident in the future.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah after the incident had tweeted that “The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a detailed report on today’s security breach in Punjab. Such dereliction of security procedure in the Prime Minister’s visit is totally unacceptable and accountability will be fixed.”