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'Potential of cross-border terrorism': Centre in SC on PM's security breach in Punjab
New Delhi, Jan 7 - Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on Friday told the Supreme Court that the breach in security of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab was "rarest of the rare issue" and "potential of cross-border terrorism".
Mehta, appearing for the Centre, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana that it was a "rarest of the rare issue" potential of causing international embarrassment.
He said for the movement of the PM's cavalcade on road, the concerned state Director General of Police (DGP) is always consulted to secure the route for the movement.
Citing videos in public domain, Mehta said the local police personnel were seen enjoying tea with the protestors, but they didn't bother to inform the SPG about the protesters on the route. He added that the PM's cavalcade came to a halt on the flyover and one side was blocked by a large crowd of protestors. "A serious mishap could have happened...embarrassment at international level", said Mehta.
He also pointed at the tweet of the chairman of banned organisation 'Sikhs for Justice', regarding the PM's visit, calling people to come together to do whatever is required. Mehta said it indicates at cross-border terrorism and a district judge should be assisted by an NIA official to collect the record pertaining to PM's visit in Punjab. "Potential of cross-border terrorism...", Mehta reiterated.
Mehta added, "A signal must go from the highest court of this country that this won't be tolerated."
Senior advocate Maninder Singh, representing the Delhi-based petitioner Lawyer's Voice, emphasised on the importance of protection to the PM of the country and cited previous top court ruling that looked at the SPG Act.
Singh contended the incident happened in an election-bound state and it must be ensured that such incidents don't happen again. He added that the Punjab government has no exclusive right to appoint a panel to inquire into this incident.
Referring to a former high court judge, who has been appointed as the chairman of the state probe panel, Singh cited a 2014 Supreme Court ruling recording adverse remarks against the judge in connection to an investigation in a recruitment scam. He urged the top court to restrain the state panel from proceeding in the matter and sought for a district judge to collect all evidence with assistance of NIA and sought an independent probe into the matter. Mehta appeared before the top court in support of this petition.
After a detailed hearing in the matter, the bench also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli directed the registrar general of Punjab and Haryana High Court to secure and preserve all records in connection with Prime Minister Narendra Modi visit to Punjab, and also asked the state and central committees to refrain from conducting inquiries till Monday, when it will take up the matter again.
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