NIA constitutes IG-level team to investigate PM’s security breach

New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has constituted an Inspector General (IG) level team to assist the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and seize the records related to Prime Minister’s security breach during his visit to Punjab on January 5.

As per a senior NIA official, the anti-terror agency has “nominated Inspector General of Police Santosh Rastogi to assist the Registrar General of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and seize the records related to the visit of Prime Minister to Punjab on January 5, 2022, from State and Central Agencies”.
“Director-General NIA issued an order in this regard on Friday,” the officer said, clarifying “there is no probe”.

Sources also said that the team comprises seven other officers, including three Deputy Inspector General level officers.

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The move comes after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) asked the NIA DG Kuldiep Singh to constitute the team. The DG then issued a written order on Friday to form a team.

The officers who will assist Rastogi in the investigation include DIGs Vidhi Kumar Bidhi, Kaliraj Mahesh Kumar and Amit Kumar, Superintendents of Police Amit Singh, Tejinder Singh and Shankar B Raimedhi.
The development comes hours after the MHA constituted three-member committee summoned Punjab Police Director General Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, Punjab ADGP, Patiala IGP and Ferozpur DIG along with over a dozen top Punjab Police officers who were responsible for the Prime Minister’s security during his visit to Punjab’s Ferozpur on January 5.

The MHA on Thursday 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 on Friday from its visit at 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 on Thursday constituted the three-member committee to enquire into the serious lapses in the security arrangements during PM’s visit to Punjab’s Ferozepur on Wednesday, which led to the exposure of the VVIP to grave security risk.

Home Ministry Spokesperson in a Tweet on Thursday had informed about the formation of the three-member committee which is advised to submit the report at the earliest.

The move comes after the Home Ministry on Wednesday also sought a detailed report from the Punjab government over the security lapse and asked it “to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action”.
The Home Ministry in a statement had then informed that it has asked the state 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 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 has 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, said a Home Ministry statement issued then.

“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,” the statement said.

PM 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 the Prime Minister’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors.

“The Prime Minister was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister,” reads the statement.

The Home Ministry then said that the Prime Minister’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab government.

As per procedure, the Home Ministry said, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready.

“Also in view of the contingency plan, the Punjab Government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which were clearly not deployed. After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda Airport.”

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