PM Modi’s security breach | Supreme Court panel blames Ferozepur SSP

‘Officer did not discharge duty to maintain law and order’

August 25, 2022 01:16 pm | Updated 11:27 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade was stuck on a flyover in Ferozepur on January 5, 2022. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade was stuck on a flyover in Ferozepur on January 5, 2022. File | Photo Credit: PTI

An apex court committee, which enquired into a security lapse after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy stuck on a flyover in Punjab on January 5, blamed a senior State police officer for failing to discharge his duty to maintain law and order despite the availability of sufficient personnel, the Supreme Court said on Thursday.

"Ferozepur SSP failed to discharge his duty to maintain law and order. He failed to do this even though sufficient force was available and even though he was informed two hours before that the Prime Minister will enter that route,” Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana conveyed to the waiting lawyers after perusing the report of the committee which was headed by former apex court judge, Justice Indu Malhotra.

The Prime Minister’s convoy was held up at a flyover due to a blockade by protestors in Ferozepur after which he returned from Punjab without attending any event, including a rally.

The court said it would forward the report to the Centre for appropriate action.

The Bench said the committee has also suggested certain remedial measures and safeguards required for the Prime Minister’s security. “It has suggested several measures like the constitution of an oversight committee should be constituted, training of police officers as per Blue Book and security planning for VVIP visits..." the Bench noted.

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The terms of reference of the Justice Malhotra Committee included unearthing the causes for the breach; the persons responsible and to what extent; remedial measures to improve the security of the Prime Minister and other protectees; and any other recommendations for the security of constitutional functionaries.

The others on the committee are Director General of National Investigation Agency or his nominee who is not below the rank of an Inspector General, the Director General of Police of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, Additional Director General of Police (Security) of Punjab and the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

"We are of the considered opinion that these questions cannot be left to be resolved through one-­sided enquiries. A judicially trained independent mind, duly assisted by officers who are well acquainted with the security considerations and the Registrar General of the High Court who has seized the record pursuant to our earlier order, would be best placed to effectively visit all issues and submit a comprehensive report for the consideration of this court," the court’s order on January 12 had said.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, had contended during the hearing of the case that there had been a "complete intelligence failure" on the part of the State. Besides, he had submitted, it was an admitted fact that there had been a security lapse in violation of the Special Protection Group Act and the 'Blue Book'.

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