The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a five-member committee, headed by its former judge Indu Malhotra, to probe into the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab last week. The panel will investigate the causes of the security breach, ascertain the persons responsible for it and recommend measures for preventing such lapses in the future, it said.
A bench led by Chief Justice NV Ramana, while requesting the committee to submit its confidential report at the earliest, said that “we are of the considered opinion that the questions (regarding the breach) cannot be resolved through one-sided inquiries. A judicial trained and independent mind duly assisted by officers well-acquainted with the security considerations and the Registrar-General of the High Court, who has seized the records pursuant to our orders, will be best suited to look into all the issues and submit a confidential report for the consideration of this court.”It also directed the registrar-general of the HC to submit all records and documents seized by him orders to probe panel head.
The other members of the panel include the director-general of the National Investigation Agency or his nominee not below the rank of inspector-general, the director-general of Police of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, the additional director-general of police (security) of Punjab and the registrar-general of the HC.
The apex court also stayed the proceedings initiated by the inquiry committees set up by the Centre and the Punjab government, as both the Centre and poll-bound Punjab blamed each other of bias. “Till conclusion of the proceedings of the Enquiry Committee constituted above, the enquiries ordered by the Central government and the State Government shall be kept in abeyance,” the order stated.
The apex court had on Monday ordered setting up a high-level committee, headed by a former judge of the top court, to probe the security lapse but the composition was not announced.
The order came on a PIL filed by ‘Lawyer’s Voice’, seeking a thorough investigation into the security breach on January 5, which had led to the PM’s convoy being stuck on a flyover for around 20 minutes in Punjab’s Ferozepur district.Modi was then on his way to address a BJP rally and his cavalcade had to take a U-turn after some protesters blocked his way.