NEW DELHI: The Central government has sought a detailed action-taken report from the Punjab government over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security breach during his visit to the state on January 5 last year, government sources said on Sunday.
According to sources, a letter has been sent through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the Punjab government asking for a detailed action taken report against the erring officers.
It is learnt that Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked Punjab Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua to submit the action taken report, highlighting the delay by the Punjab government in acting against the erring officers.
According to sources, the letter was sent earlier this month, pointing to share the report as soon as possible.
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, indicted then-state Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari, Police Chief S Chattopadhyaya, and other top officers for lapses.
Soon after the security breach, the MHA had constituted a three-member committee that summoned Director General of Punjab Police, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, Punjab ADGP, Patiala IGP, and Ferozpur DIG along among over a dozen top Punjab Police officers.
They were responsible for the Prime Minister'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 is considering action under the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act against Punjab Police officers following the breach in the security of Prime Minister 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 provision, titled 'Assistance to Group', states: "It shall be the duty of every Ministry and Department of the Central Government or the State Government or the Union Territory Administration, every Indian Mission, every local or other authority or every civil or military authority to act in aid of the Director or any member of the Group whenever called upon to do so in furtherance of the duties and responsibilities assigned to such Director or member."
The MHA's three-member team started its probe from its visit to the flyover where Prime Minister'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 Prime Minister'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 Prime Minister was stuck on the flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister.
The Punjab government had also constituted a high-level committee to probe the incident. Prime Minister 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 Prime Minister 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.
Prime Minister 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.
Prime Minister 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."
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