PM security breach in Punjab traced to scheduling flaw

The commission investigating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security breach is in the final stages of gathering evidence. So far, the investigation is headed towards “planning error” during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Punjab in January this year.

“The committee is gathering evidence from all stakeholders involved and is collating it together. So far it appears to have been a botched plan, but we are still taking a final position,” said a senior government official.

The Supreme Court appointed commission, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Judge Indu Malhotra, is investigating whether there was a criminal conspiracy in the incident and the role of Punjab police officers is also being investigated.

Prime Minister Modi’s cavalcade was grounded on January 5, leaving him stranded for 20 minutes on an overpass about 30 km from Hussainiwala.

According to officials involved in the investigation, the statements of all witnesses were included – Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel, Punjab Police personnel and also bystanders who stood to applaud PM Modi.

“According to SPG’s (under which the SPG operates) blue book during planning, all operational contingencies should have been factored in, along with congruent contingency plans, covert operations and dummy exercises,” said one officer, adding air force logs to records of alternative routes and those of hiding places along PM Modi’s route were also investigated.

Sources said the commission has been examining videos of PM Modi sitting in the car and those of protesters blocking the road in front of them.

“Justice Indu Malhotra, along with other members of the commission, visited the place where Prime Minister Modi was detained and also where he was supposed to speak,” said another senior official who was aware of the developments.

Interestingly, the intelligence agency, or the IB, informed the commission that they had shared input with the government of Punjab stating that “some sort of demonstration or agitation” could take place when Prime Minister Modi was on his way to Hussainiwala.

The IB had even warned state police that Gurpatwant Singh Pannu of the banned Sikhs for Justice group had provoked and lured local youths with money. It issued a general alarm and asked the Punjab government to remain vigilant as the location of Prime Minister Modi’s event was close to the border with Pakistan.

“So far it appears that the local police have taken a casual approach and shown no due diligence,” said a senior officer, adding that the Blue Book dictates that the Prime Minister’s safety and security is the responsibility of the concerned state government. or the Union territory concerned.

The commission has asked former Indian police officers experienced in providing security to prime ministers for suggestions on how to strengthen security.