PM Modi security breach: Govt to chargesheet erring officers, says chief secy - Hindustan Times
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PM Modi security breach: Govt to chargesheet erring officers, says chief secy

By, Patiala
Mar 13, 2023 10:35 PM IST

Following flak from the Centre over the delay in action over the breach of security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Punjab visit in January last year, chief secretary Vijay Kumar Januja said that all indicted officers will be chargesheeted.

Following flak from the Centre over the delay in action over the breach of security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Punjab visit in January last year, chief secretary Vijay Kumar Januja said that all indicted officers will be chargesheeted.

Irked by the delay, as per the persons in the know of things in the state government, said that the Centre was mulling options to act against the officers under the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act. (ANI file photo)
Irked by the delay, as per the persons in the know of things in the state government, said that the Centre was mulling options to act against the officers under the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act. (ANI file photo)

After a missive from the Centre last week wherein Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla asked the Punjab chief secretary to submit an action-taken report, Janjua said that the home secretary has already moved the file to the chief minister (Bhagwant Mann) for approval for issuing chargesheets against the nine erring IPS officers, including former DGP S Chattopadhyaya.

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Regarding the former chief secretary Anirudh Tewari, Januja said that he has already been issued a show cause notice.

“I have moved a file to the chief minister regarding approval for a chargesheet against Tewari, and hopefully, the file will be cleared soon. The chief minister’s office (CMO) has raised a few queries, and I am replying to them,” he said.

Also read | PM security breach: 6 months on, no action against former Punjab chief secretary, ex-DGP

Januja said that the file for issuing chargesheet against the erring IPS officers is also with the CM.

“The home department has sent the file to the chief minister, who also holds the portfolio of Home, narrating all the lapses of all concerned officers during the PM’s visit. Once we get clearance from the CM, the chargesheets will be issued,” Janjua said.

Janjua said Punjab soon will submit the action taken report to the Centre.

Irked by the delay, as per the persons in the know of things in the state government, said that the Centre was mulling options to act against the officers under the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act.

Under Section 14 of the SPG Act, the state government is 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 SPG Act was violated by the Punjab officials, and the Centre can act against any erring officers. The Union home minister is waiting for the state’s reply and if unsatisfied, the Centre is likely to intervene. They want to set an example so that no such breach could take place in future,” said the official privy to the developments.

The report of the Supreme Court-appointed inquiry committee looking into the breach in security during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Punjab visit on January 5, 2022, that was submitted six months ago indicts then state chief secretary Anirudh Tewari and police chief S Chattopadhyaya for lapses.

On March 7, HT was the first to report the findings submitted by the five-member committee led by retired Supreme Court justice Indu Malhotra. Till then, the only finding of the report in the public domain was that it held senior superintendent of police Harmandeep Singh Hans responsible for the lapse. HT has reviewed a copy of the report.

Besides Hans, Tewari and Chattopadhyaya, the committee has indicted additional director generals of police G Nageswara Rao and Naresh Arora, inspectors general Rakesh Aggarwal and Inderbir Singh, then deputy inspector general Surjeet Singh (now retired), and senior superintendent of police Charanjit Singh.

Earlier this week, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla asked Punjab chief secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua to submit an action taken report, highlighting the delay by the state government in acting against the erring officers.

The report was submitted to the apex court and the Union government on August 25 last year. In September, the latter forwarded it to the Aam Aadmi Party-led state government, which is yet to act on it.

The Supreme Court ordered the inquiry after the convoy of Modi was stranded for half an hour on a flyover when he was travelling by road from Bathinda airport to Ferozepur on January 5, 2022. A belligerent crowd of about 300 protesters gathered at the end of the flyover, prompting the Special Protection Group, which protects the Prime Minister, to halt the convoy and head back to the airport.

The report indicted the Punjab police brass for its casual and negligent attitude, and referred to the incident as “a colossal failure in planning and coordination”. A Congress government headed by Charanjit Singh Channi was in charge of the state at that time.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vishal Rambani is an assistant editor covering Punjab. A journalist with over a decade of experience, he writes on politics, crime, power sector, environment and socio-economic issues. He has several investigative stories to his credit.

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