Indian Supreme Court Appoints Panel to Investigate PM Modi's Security Breach
13:19 GMT 10.01.2022 (Updated: 20:37 GMT 19.10.2022)
On 5 January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy got stuck in the Indian state of Punjab for nearly 20 minutes as some protesting farmers blocked the flyover. Private cars were also seen approaching the cavalcade, which indicated a major security lapse. Modi was on his way to the state's Ferozepur district to address an election rally.
The Supreme Court of India on Monday appointed a high-level committee to inquire into the security breach concerning Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he recently visited Punjab.
The four-member panel will be headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.
The court also proposed for inclusion on the independent committee, the Director-General of Police (DGP) from the union territory of Chandigarh; the Inspector General of the National Investigation Agency; the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court; and the Additional Director General of Police of Punjab.
The panel's launch was announced by the bench over which India's Chief Justice, Nuthlapati Venkata Ramana, was presiding, along with Justices Hima Kohli and Surya Kant.
The bench heard a plea by Punjab's state government seeking an independent inquiry into the security breach affecting the prime minister.
Appearing for the Punjab state government, Advocate General Deepinder Singh Patwalia said, "According to the Supreme Court's directions, all documents have been taken over by the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court."
"We have seven show-cause notices from the chief secretary saying you are guilty of violations and disciplinary action will be taken," Patwalia added.
Patwalia said the show-cause notices were issued for disciplinary action against seven officials of the Punjab government.
He said the notices "presume and premeditate" everything against the Punjab government.
"There have been no inquiries, all documents have been seized. The matter is before the Supreme Court. How did they issue show-cause notices?" Patwalia asked. "I demand a court-monitored inquiry. If there was a lapse, hang my officers."
The supreme court has also questioned the federal government over the show cause notice issued by it to Punjab officials, and said that it is self-contradictory.
The court has also asked the federal government as well as the state government to hold inquiries into the matter.
In its earlier hearing on Friday, the court had directed that travel records of the Prime Minister be preserved.
A massive row broke out after Modi's cavalcade had to stop for about 20 minutes on a flyover in Punjab's Bathinda area as the road was blocked by protesting farmers.
Films of the Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel surrounding the Prime Minister's car went viral, sparking a war of words between the federally ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and main opposition party Congress, which rules the state of Punjab.