The Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, has decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against several police officers, including the then-DGP Punjab, Sidharth Chattopadhyay, the then-DIG, Inderbir Singh, and the then-SSP Ferozepur, Harmandeep Singh Hans, over the security breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab in January 2022. An official letter by the Government of Punjab stated that the Chief Minister had decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings for the major penalty against the officers.
On March 14, the Chief Secretary of Punjab, Vijay Kumar Janjua, announced that the state government would soon submit an “interim” report to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the security breach issue of Prime Minister Modi during his visit in January 2022. This came after the Central government sought a detailed action-taken report from the Punjab government over PM Modi’s security breach. Sources had said that a letter was sent through the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to the Punjab government asking for a detailed action taken report against the erring officers.
The state government has received the report of the inquiry conducted by the Supreme Court-constituted panel into the incident, and it is currently under consideration. 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, indicated then-state Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari, Police Chief S Chattopadhyaya, and other top officers for lapses.
The MHA had then constituted a three-member committee to investigate the serious lapses in the security arrangements during the PM’s visit to Ferozepur in Punjab, which exposed the VVIP to grave security risk. The committee was led by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, Secretary (Security), Cabinet Secretariat; Balbir Singh, Joint Director (IB); and S Suresh, IG, Special Protection Group.
During their investigation, the committee visited the flyover where the Prime Minister’s convoy was stuck for over 15-20 minutes due to a road blockade by protesters. They also summoned the Director General of Punjab Police, Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, Punjab ADGP, Patiala IGP, and Ferozepur DIG along with over a dozen top Punjab Police officers who were responsible for the Prime Minister’s security during his visit.
The committee’s report indicated lapses on the part of then-state Chief Secretary Anirudh Tewari, Police Chief S Chattopadhyaya, and other top officers. The Central government then sought a detailed action-taken report from the Punjab government against the erring officers.
In response to this, on March 14, 2023, Punjab Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua stated that the state government would soon submit an “interim” report to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding the security breach issue of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Punjab in January 2022.
The government of Punjab has now decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings against several police officers, including the state’s top cop, over the security breach. The Chief Minister of Punjab, Bhagwant Mann, has decided to initiate disciplinary proceedings for the major penalty against Sidharth Chattopadhyay, the then DGP Punjab, Inderbir Singh, the then DIG, Ferozepur Range, and Harmandeep Singh Hans, the then SSP Ferozepur, according to an official letter by the Government of Punjab.
The breach in the security of the Prime Minister occurred when he was traveling by road to visit the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala from Bathinda. Due to rain and poor visibility, the Prime Minister had to wait 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.
The Prime Minister then proceeded to travel by road after the necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police. However, 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. The Prime Minister was stuck on the flyover for 15-20 minutes, which was flagged as a major lapse in his security.
Following the security lapse, the Home Ministry had asked the Punjab government to “fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action.” The MHA had also stated that PM Modi’s schedule and travel plan were communicated well in advance to the Punjab government, and 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.
In conclusion, the decision by the Punjab government to initiate disciplinary proceedings against several police officers, including the state’s top cop, is a step towards holding those responsible for the security breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi accountable. The breach had exposed the Prime Minister to grave security risks, and it is important that the appropriate action is taken to ensure that such lapses do not occur in the future.