A Supreme Court-appointed committee has found that the Ferozpur senior superintendent of police failed to discharge his duty in maintaining law and order when Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s convoy was stuck on a flyover for over 15 minutes in the district in January, Chief Justice NV Ramana said on Thursday, Live Law reported.
“He failed to do this even though sufficient force was available and even though he was informed two hours before that PM Modi will enter that route,” Chief Justice NV Ramana said, citing a report of a panel appointed by the Supreme Court.
The committee was headed by retired Supreme Court judge Indu Malhotra.
A massive controversy had erupted after Modi had to abort his visit to Ferozepur on January 5 after his convoy was stuck as protestors blocked the road to Hussainiwala village in Punjab.
The Centre had described the incident a “major security lapse”. However, Charanjit Singh Channi, who was the Punjab chief minister at the time, had dismissed the claim. He said there was no threat at all to the prime minister’s security and that Modi had a sudden change of plan.
On Thursday, the court said that it will send the committee’s report to the Union government so that it can take action.
The measures suggested by the panel include constituting an oversight committee and security planning for VVIP visits, reported Bar and Bench.
In its order, the court also suggested that there was a “blame game” between the Centre and the Punjab government over the matter and that a “war of words” was not a solution.
Modi had landed in Bathinda on January 5 morning and was supposed to fly to the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala. Later, he was scheduled to go to a rally in a helicopter.
The Centre said the trip was delayed by bad weather. Since the visibility did not improve, he finally travelled via road. The convoy was stuck around 30 kilometres from the memorial as protesting farmers blocked the road.
At a press conference later, Channi had said the change of plan to travel by road was not conveyed to the state government. “We were informed by the Prime Minister’s Office that he would be travelling by helicopter,” he added. “It was at the spot that a decision to travel by road was taken by their [central] agencies and officers.”