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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a five-member committee headed by former apex court judge Indu Malhotra to probe the alleged security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Punjab.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana also appointed the inspector general of the National Investigation Agency, director general of police of Chandigarh, the registrar general of the Punjab and Haryana high court and the additional DGP (security) of Punjab as members to the Justice Malhotra panel.
While setting up the committee, the court said a probe of this kind “cannot be left to one-sided enquiries”, Indian Express reported, and must include a judicially trained mind who can properly apprise the court on the matter.
The top court directed the registrar general of the Punjab and Haryana high court to provide all the seized documents pertaining to the security arrangements made by the Punjab government for the prime minister’s January 5 visit immediately to the panel head.
The bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli said that it was expected that the panel would file its report shortly.
On January 5, the prime minister’s convoy was stranded on a flyover for about 20 minutes due to a blockade by protesters in Ferozepur after which he returned from Punjab without attending any event, including a rally. The issue quickly turned political, with the BJP and Congress trading barbs on what actually happened.
As The Wire has reported, the delay was likely because the Punjab Police was caught off guard with the sudden appearance of a farmers’ jatha led by Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) (Krantikari) on the route devised for the prime minister’s cavalcade after his original plan to reach Ferozepur by helicopter was called off due to bad weather.
Protesting farmers, however, have said that they were nowhere near the prime minister’s cavalcade and could in no way have led to a “threat to his life”. On the contrary, the have released videos suggesting that it was BJP workers who had made their way close to Modi’s car, shouting “Narendra Modi zindabad”.
(With PTI inputs)