There is no mention of the PM getting caught in the blockade and the case was registered under Section 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation) of the IPC that stipulates a fine of Rs 200 for the guilty as punishment. The case was filed on police officer Birbal Singh’s complaint, who the FIR said reached the flyover at 2.30pm on January 5 — one-and-a-half hours after the PM got stuck, turned back to the airfield in Bathinda and returned from the poll-bound state without attending any event.
The FIR said the inspector proceeded to the spot after being informed that unidentified people were holding a protest on the Moga-Ferpozepur road and, hence, the route for those on the way to a BJP rally was blocked. That included VIPs. Kulgari police station SHO Birbal Singh completed his duty, went to the police station and registered the case.
Punjab BJP secretary Sukhpal Singh Sra said: “It is highly strange that the PM of the country gets stuck at 1.05pm and Ferozepur police got to know about the blockade only at 2.30pm. Then they took such a long time in registering the FIR.” The Punjab government sent a report on Friday to the MHA on the security breach, stating that state police have registered an FIR and a two-member committee was constituted to probe the case.
Sources said the MHA was informed a day before the PM’s visit that Punjab police had ensured no blockade along the route. MHA deputy secretary Archana Varma issued a showcause notice to Bathinda SSP Ajay Maluja, asking him to reply by Saturday evening why action should not be initiated under All India Services (Discipline and Appeal), Rules, 1969, over the security lapse during the PM’s visit.
Route clearance was given without adequately attending to security concerns pointed out at the meetings on January 1 and 2, the notice mentioned. As per the rule book and established procedures, the SP was mandated to make adequate arrangements for security and logistics during VVIP visits and build contingency plans by deploying an adequate number of security forces.
The contingency rehearsal for the road journey from Air Force Station Bathinda to Ferozepur was carried out on January 4. Adequate security deployment was not made for the VVIP cavalcade’s movement the next day as the road was blocked with tractors and trolleys about 30km from the National Martyrs’ Memorial in Hussaniwala, the notice said.
SSP Maluja said the role of Bathinda police was up to Jeeda village and that it was peaceful on that day. A three-member MHA team started its investigation in Punjab on Friday. The team headed by Sudhir Kumar Saxena, secretary (security) in the Cabinet Secretariat, visited the martyrs’ memorial at Hussainiwala, BSF sector headquarters, and Bhisiana air base.