Supreme Court to set up Independent probe panel into PM ‘security breach’

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday (January 10) decided to set up an independent committee headed by a retired Supreme Court judge to investigate the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Punjab visit on January 5.

The three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana also directed the centre and the Punjab government to hold the enquiries by the respective panels set up after the incident. Other Judges on the bench are Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli.

The panel is likely to include the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Punjab DGP and NIA representatives. A detailed order will be issued by the court later. 

During the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta cited the SPG’s ‘Blue Book’ in his response to enquiries from the court. He said it is a “serious matter” that the state government is trying to defend Punjab state officials, including the senior police officers, for the entire episode. He said that despite conducting ‘rehearsal’ of possible road travel by the Prime Minister due to weather conditions, “there was complete intelligence failure” on D-Day.

Sources said Mehta argued, “The convoy of the Prime Minister had reached the place which was 100 m from the protest site…Crowds started gathering in and there were no inputs from the DGP which was his responsibility.”

The Solicitor General requested the apex court that the central government’s panel be allowed to conduct its probe and submit a report to the court.

The centre’s argument was that because PM security and SPG protocols were involved, lengthy procedures and detailed hearings could be avoided. “The fact that the state (Punjab govt) is defending the officers is very very serious”. The bench finally said it would set up an independent panel.

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