Lok Sabha Elections 2019: ‘What is Modi carrying in helicopter’, asks Congress after poll official’s suspension
Mohammed Mohsin, a 1996-batch IAS officer, was suspended on Tuesday after he checked the vehicle in Sambalpur, where the PM addressed an election rally. It wasn’t immediately clear who was travelling in the vehicle that was checked.Updated: Apr 18, 2019 12:48 IST
The Congress on Thursday attacked Prime Minister Modi over the suspension of a poll observer, a Karnataka-cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, in Odisha for checking a vehicle in PM’s convoy.
“An official was suspended by ECI for doing his job of inspecting vehicles. The rule cited governs the use of official vehicles for campaigning. It does not exempt PM’s vehicle from being searched. What is Modi carrying in the helicopter that he doesn’t want India to see?”, the Congress tweeted on Thursday, the day 95 seats are voting in 12 states and one UT in phase two of Lok Sabha elections.
Mohammed Mohsin, a 1996-batch IAS officer, was suspended on Tuesday after he checked the vehicle in Sambalpur, where the PM addressed an election rally. It wasn’t immediately clear who was travelling in the vehicle that was checked. The ECI order said that Mohsin had not acted in conformity with the ECI’s instructions dated April 10, 2014 and March 22, 2019 concerning those guarded by the Special Protection Group (SPG).
The order also said the Sambalpur district collector, who is also the district election officer, and the deputy inspector general of police had also sent a written report confirming that Mohsin’s actions had been contrary to the instructions of the EC and qualified as “dereliction of duty”.
The ECI did not go into the details of the action or what the guidelines for SPG protectees are.
PM Modi was reported to have been held up for nearly 15 minutes because of the check.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s helicopter was also checked by EC flying squad personnel in Rourkela on Tuesday.
A similar check was carried out on Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s chopper at Sambalpur Tuesday by a flying squad, sources said.
On Tuesday, the Congress had alleged that a “mysterious box” was removed from PM Modi’s helicopter and taken to a car in Karnataka’s Chitradurga. Demanding an EC probe, the Congress asked the poll panel to “exercise its constitutional powers under Article 324 of the Constitution of India”.
The opposition party also mentioned the incident of April 9, when cash worth crores was seized at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. “It would not be entirely out of place to assume that the black box which has been transported in a hurried and clandestine manner could be part of the same modus operandi to carry large sums of cash. While this is a hypothesis it is, as stated above, supported by a recent incident in Pasighat,” the Congress complaint said.
Apart from this, the Congress has also raised four other issues including that of the PM’s photograph being used on railway tickets, that no action had been taken against the PM and the BJP chief for their speeches with religious overtones in Nanded and Latur on April 12.
First Published: Apr 18, 2019 10:51 IST