New Delhi | Jan,12 : Investigations into the security breach that left Prime Minister Narendra Modi stuck on a flyover in Punjab for 20 minutes last week will be headed by a retired judge, Justice Indu Malhotra, the Supreme Court said today. Officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Punjab police will be part of the inquiry.
“These questions cannot be left upon any one sided enquiry. We need an independent probe,” the Supreme Court said, adding that the inquiry committee would submit its report “at the earliest”.
The committee will inquire into what caused the breach, who was responsible and what safeguards are needed to prevent such lapses in future, and submit its report at the earliest.
The NIA Director General, the Chandigarh police chief, the Additional Director General of Punjab Police (Security) and the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court will be members of the inquiry.
A massive political row broke out after PM Modi, on his way to a rally last Wednesday, was stranded for about 20 minutes on a flyover in Punjab’s Bathinda as it was blocked by protesting farmers.
In the middle of an intense campaign for the February 14 Punjab election, the incident ignited a political row with the Centre and the state government swapping allegations of lapses in protocol and setting up separate investigations.
Earlier, the Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana had asked the BJP-ruled centre and the Congress government in Punjab to hold their probes.
The Centre told the court during arguments that there was “complete intelligence failure” and that there has been a “clear violation of the SPG (Special Protection Group) Act”. He said the state government had provided no information to the PM’s security detail that there were protesters on the route. The Punjab government said it had no role in the last-minute change in the PM’s plans, who was originally flying to the site by helicopter but could not because of poor weather. The Congress also accused the BJP of using the security breach charges to cover up the embarrassment of thin crowds at the rally that PM Modi was to address.