PM security breach: SC calls for probe by three member panel headed by retired judge

SC also pulls up Centre for show-cause notices to Punjab officials without any inquiries and while the matter is before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on Monday said it will appoint a committee headed by a retired judge of the top court to probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab on January 5.

“We are thinking on these lines. One retired Supreme Court judge will head the committee which will be the same like before…Also IG, Intelligence of Punjab,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana said, after hearing arguments from the Centre and the Punjab government.

The CJIs’ apparent reference was to the committee set up by it earlier to secure the documents in connection with the Prime Minister’s travel plans. It comprises the Director General of Police of the Union Territory of Chandigarh, and an officer of the National Investigation Agency, not below the rank of Inspector General who is nominated by NIA’s Director General, to assist the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and seize the records.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said he would not object to it, but the IG, Intelligence, himself might be subject to scrutiny as he, too, is responsible for the security arrangements, as per the Blue Book.

Punjab Advocate General D S Patwalia submitted that the ADGP Intelligence may be the person to be included and the court said it will pass detailed orders soon.

The Bench, consisting of Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli, also allowed both the Centre and the state to conduct their individual inquiries into the matter.

The Supreme Court bench was hearing a plea by the Punjab government seeking an independent probe into the PM’s security breach incident.

“We got seven show-cause notices from the chief secretary saying you are guilty of violations and disciplinary action will be taken,” AG Patwalia added.

AG Patwalia said the show-cause notices were issued for disciplinary action against seven officials of Punjab government. He said the show-cause notices “presume and premeditate” everything against the Punjab government.

“There has been no inquiries, all documents have been seized. The matter is before the Supreme Court. How did they issue show-cause notices?” the AG asked.

“I demand a court-monitored inquiry. If there was a lapse, hang my officers,” he added.

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