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Supreme Court ex-judge Justice Indu Malhotra to head panel to probe breach in PM security in Punjab

New Delhi, January 12

Former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Indu Malhotra, will head the special panel to probe into the security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab last week, the Supreme Court announced on Wednesday.

A Bench led by CJI NV Ramana said the other members of the panel will be DG of the NIA or an Inspection General level officer nominated by him, police chief of Union Territory of Chandigarh, ADGP (Security) of Punjab, and the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“We are of considered opinion that such a sensitive issue relating to breach of the Prime Minister’s security can’t be left to one-sided inquiries by the Centre or the state government. A judicially trained independent mind assisted by officers well acquainted with security considerations, and the Registrar General of the High Court who had seized records on our orders, would inquire into the incident,” it said.

The committee will probe into the causes of the security breach, ascertain as to who were the persons responsible for it and recommend measures for preventing such lapses in VVIPs’ security in future, it said.

The Bench — which also included Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli — stayed the proceedings initiated by the inquiry committees set up by the Centre and the Punjab Government.

The top court directed the Registrar General of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to submit all records and documents seized by him orders to probe panel head.

The Bench — which had on Monday said, “We are taking the PM’s security breach very seriously” –requested the probe panel to submit its report at the earliest.

The order came on a PIL filed by ‘Lawyer’s Voice’ seeking a thorough investigation into the security lapse during Prime Minister’s visit to Punjab.

The security breach happened on January 5 when Modi was on his way to address a BJP rally and his cavalcade had to take a U-turn after some protesters blocked his way. The Prime Minister was reportedly stuck on a flyover for around 20 minutes.

Punjab Advocate General DS Patwalia had on Monday demanded an independent probe into the breach in the Prime Minister’s security, saying the state would not get a fair hearing in any probe carried out by the Centre.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the centre’s committee had only issued show cause notices. It’s an admitted case of security lapse and the PM was exposed, he had said.

The Supreme Court had on Monday ordered setting up a high-level committee headed by a former judge of the top court to probe into the security lapse but the composition was not announced.

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