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PM's convoy driver alleges harassment

Though the driver was let off the next morning, he alleges that police officials have visited his house twice.

india Updated: Nov 04, 2006 19:58 IST

Shiju, the tourist taxi driver who drove Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's convoy the wrong way this week has complained to Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan that police were harassing him.

In a letter to the chief minister on Friday night, the driver said that police were harassing him and his family under the pretext of questioning him over the security lapse that took place on the night of October 31 when the prime minister was being driven from the airport to Raj Bhavan, the state governor's official residence.

Shiju had been detained for questioning after he took a wrong turn, bringing the prime minister's convoy to a halt and thus creating a rare security breach.

Though he was let off the next morning, he has complained that police had visited him at his home twice.

Shiju had told reporters that he drove the wrong way because he was asked to do so by a circle inspector of police who was with him in the pilot car.

Achuthanandan had asked for an inquiry by additional director general of police Jacob Punnoose, who was in charge of the security during the PM's Kerala visit.

The circle inspector was immediately suspended from service and Punnoose said in his report that the breach was merely due to a human error.

Another dimension to the goof up appears to be the factionalism in the Communist Party of India-Marxist with Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan and Achuthanandan in rival factions.

Meanwhile, two factions of the Communist Party of India-Marxist that leads the ruling Left Democratic front (LDF) seemed to have different reactions to the security goof-up.

Reports indicate that while Achuthanandan wants heads to roll in the top brass in the police, Balakrishnan appears diffident and is keen to protect them.

"A final decision on what action needs to be taken would happen only after the chief secretary submits his report," Balakrishnan told reporters Saturday.