Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against several police officers, including the State’s top cop, over security breach of PM Narendra Modi in Punjab in January 2022.
As per the official letter by the Government of Punjab, the major penalty is against Sidharth Chattopadhyay, the then DGP Punjab, Inderbir Singh, the then DIG, Ferozepur Range and Harmandeep Singh Hans, the then SSP Ferozepur over the PM Narendra Modi’s security breach in Punjab in January 2022.
On March 14, Punjab Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua said that the State Government will soon submit the “interim” report to the Ministry of Home Affairs related to the security breach issue of PM Narendra Modi during his visit in January 2022.
This came after the Central Government sought a detailed action-taken report from the Punjab Government over PM Modi’s security breach.
As per the sources, the letter was sent through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the Punjab Government asking for a detailed action taken report against the erring officers.
The State Government has received the report of the inquiry conducted by the Supreme Court-constituted panel into the incident and it is under consideration, said the Chief Secretary.
A report of the Supreme Court-appointed inquiry committee looking into the breach in security during PM Modi’s Punjab visit on January 5, 2022, which was submitted six months ago, indicated then-state Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari, Police Chief S Chattopadhyaya, and other top officers for lapses.
Soon after the security breach, the MHA constituted a three-member committee that summoned the Director General of Punjab Police, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, Punjab ADGP, Patiala IGP, and Ferozpur DIG along with over a dozen top Punjab Police officers. They were responsible for the PM’s security during his visit to Punjab’s Ferozpur on January 5.
The MHA then constituted a three-member committee led by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat; Balbir Singh, Joint Director (IB); and S Suresh, IG, Special Protection Group.
The Centre was considering action under the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act against Punjab Police officers following the breach in the security of PM Modi during his visit to Punjab on January 5.
Section 14 of the SPG Act makes the State Government responsible for providing all assistance to the SPG during the PM’s movement.
The MHA’s three-member team started its probe from its visit to the flyover where PM’s convoy was stuck for over 15-20 minutes due to a road blockade by protesters during his visit.
The MHA had constituted the three-member committee to enquire into the serious lapses in the security arrangements during the PM’s visit to Punjab’s Ferozepur, which led to the exposure of the VVIP to grave security risk.
The MHA had then also asked the Punjab Government to “fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action”.
The action was taken after the PM’s convoy during its visit to National Martyrs Memorial in Punjab via road reached a flyover where the road was blocked by some protestors.
The PM was stuck on the flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of the PM.
The Punjab Government had also constituted a high-level committee to probe the incident.
PM Modi landed at Bathinda on January 5 morning from where he was to go to the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter.
Due to rain and poor visibility, the PM waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear out. When the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the National Martyrs Memorial via road, which would take more than two hours.
PM Modi then proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police, mentions the statement. Around 30 km away from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when his convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors.
PM Modi was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. It was flagged as a major lapse in his security.
The Home Ministry had then said PM Modi’s schedule and travel plan were communicated well in advance to the Punjab Government.
Following procedure, the Home Ministry said they had to make necessary arrangements for logistics, and security as well as keep a contingency plan ready.
Also in view of the contingency plan the Punjab Government had to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which was clearly not deployed, the MHA had said then, adding “after this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda Airport.”
(with inputs from ANI)