Solicitor General told the apex Court, "….local Punjab police was very much there enjoying tea when PM's convoy was moving according to videos. They didn't inform that there is a blockade". Now imagine, the motorcade is on flyover with protectee, while trucks and tractors are blocking. A serious mishap could have happened."
New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday (January 7) asked the Central government and the state of Punjab to hold the respective committee probes into the major security breach to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's convoy in Punjab.
Taking cognizance of submission by senior counsel Maninder Singh, the apex court directed the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve the travel records of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Punjab on Wednesday immediately.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana also directed that the separate investigations ordered by the Punjab government and the Union Home Ministry be paused till Monday.
"The incident created a very serious situation for the PM's security," Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said and urged the Supreme Court to call for records related to Mr Modi's visit and security arrangements in Ferozepur region in Congress-ruled Punjab.
A Bench comprising Chief Justice N. V. Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing a petition filed by the NGO 'Lawyers Voice'. The security lapse is a "rarest of the rare" case that could cause potential international embarrassment, the Centre told the Supreme Court.
The petition filed on the security cover issue demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), and the Centre seemed to have backed the idea. The NGO also wants the probe to be monitored by the apex court.
Sources said the Punjab and Haryana High Court's Registrar General had been asked to "keep all records in his safe custody".
The Court also said the Punjab Police, the Special Protection Group (SPG) and other Centre and state agencies are to "cooperate and provide necessary assistance" to the Registrar General.
"Ask both the committees (of Centre and Punjab Govt) to hold their operations till Monday. This will not be in order, but it's understood," Chief Justice NV Ramana remarked.
The gory episode has certainly triggered a big political row and blame game between Congress and the BJP. The saffron party has already demanded sacking state DGP and the state Home Minister.
The Congress and even Chief Minister Channi denied about security lapse. The differences between the state government and the Centre came up on display during Friday's court proceedings as well.
"Both the Punjab government and the police were responsible for the security lapse…There's also the possibility of cross border terrorism," Solicitor General Mehta said. He further said: "This is something (which could have been) ought to have been avoided. It is a case of potential international embarrassment."
The Punjab government counsel denied that it is taking the case lightly. "We have set up a panel. We are open," the lawyer for the state government said.
Appearing on behalf of the petitioner, counsel Maninder Singh reportedly said, " Under the SPG Act, the security of Prime Ministers is not a state subject of law and order. It's a national security issue."
Sources say Solicitor General also said, "….local Punjab police was very much there enjoying tea (when PM's convoy was moving). According to videos, they didn't inform that there is a blockade. Now imagine, the motorcade is on flyover with protectee, there are trucks and tractors blocking. Serious mishap could have happened."