Put probes on hold: SC direction on PM security breach
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre and the state government to put on hold their probes into the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Ferozepur visit and directed the high court registrar general to immediately secure all relevant records.
The directions by a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana came on a day when a Central team investigating the lapse visited Ferozepur, meeting officials responsible for the security arrangements for the PM's visit on Wednesday.
Sources in Punjab said the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has sent show cause notices to some police officials in the state.
Also, the Punjab government submitted a report to Centre, informing that an FIR has been registered against unidentified protesters.
Modi's convoy was stranded on a flyover for nearly 20 minutes on Wednesday due to a blockade by farmers in Ferozepur.
He then returned from poll-bound Punjab without attending the planned events, including a rally. The Centre had accused the state's Congress for the security breach and sought an immediate report from it.
The political slugfest over the incident continued on Friday with Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar demanding that his Punjab counterpart Charanjit Singh Channi's government should be dismissed and President's Rule imposed in the state.
Both the Centre and the state have set up high-level committees into the lapse.
The Supreme Court has now asked them to put the probes on hold till Monday when it will next hear the petition.
Heard counsel for parties. Taking into consideration the arguments advanced, keeping in view that it pertained to the security of the prime minister and other issues... as first step, we deem it appropriate to direct Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure records forthwith, the bench, also comprising justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, said in the order.
The apex court also directed the Punjab government, its police and other Central and state agencies to provide all relevant records immediately to the Registrar General.
The SC was hearing a plea by Lawyers' Voice' seeking a thorough investigation into the security breach.
The petition sought the preservation of evidence on security arrangements, a court-monitored probe and action against the erring Punjab government officials.
The three-member committee, constituted by the Union Home Ministry on Thursday, is seeking full details about the sequence of events that unfolded during Modi's Punjab visit, sources said.
The panel is led by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat. It has Balbir Singh, Joint Director of the Intelligence Bureau and S Suresh, IG, Special Protection Group as two other members.
Amid foggy weather conditions, the team visited the Pyarayana flyover near Ferozepur on Friday morning and interacted with senior Punjab Police and administration officials.
The team spent about 45 minutes at the flyover before heading to the BSF sector headquarters 10 km away. It was closeted there with senior officials who were directly responsible for ensuring a smooth passage for the PM's convoy.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari wrote to the Union Home Ministry on the security breach, giving the sequence of events and informing that an FIR has been lodged, sources said.
The state government also mentioned in the report that it has formed its own two-member panel to investigate the alleged lapses.
On Friday, BJP leaders continued to target the Channi government over the lapse while the Congress largely played down the incident.
Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu claimed that the BJP was ranting about the incident while trying to save itself from the humiliation over the thin attendance at the PM's rally venue.
In Uttar Pradesh Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav taunted, People and farmers of Punjab should have allowed the PM to reach the dais... he would have felt good on seeing the empty chairs.
Union minister Anurag Thakur questioned the silence of top Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra over the security lapse.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi offered prayers at the Haji Ali Dargah in Mumbai for the prime minister's well-being.
The deliberate criminal negligence during the visit of the world's popular and admired leader Narendra Modi has made the Congress a cowardly conspiracy clan, he charged.