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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Shatrughan Sinha’s VIP status ‘clipped’ at Patna airport

The MP’s permission on medical grounds, granted by the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) on May 23, 2017 to use airport ferry vehicle to drive up to tarmac at airports expired on June 30. However, as a special case, the MP continued to enjoy the privilege at Patna airport until the BCAS objected to in December.

patna Updated: Jan 02, 2019 08:53 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha
BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha(File)
         

BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha has ceased to be a VIP at airports after the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) questioned the Airports Authority of India (AAI) how he was allowed to use a vehicle up to the tarmac of the Jay Prakash Narayan International (JPNI) airport here after expiry of permission around five months back.

The MP’s permission on medical grounds, granted by the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) on May 23, 2017 — Hindustan Times has a copy of it — to use airport ferry vehicle to drive up to tarmac at airports expired on June 30. However, as a special case, the MP continued to enjoy the privilege at Patna airport until the BCAS objected to in December.

“We have stopped extending the facility to the MP after the BCAS communication,” airport director Rajender Singh Lahauria said.

“We had provided the MP airport ferry vehicle on medical grounds as he had difficulty walking. The MP was allowed to use the ferry vehicle after going through the security drill. He is also the chairman of our airport advisory committee,” said Lahauria in his defence.

Efforts to contact Sinha proved futile.

Ravi Kant, Sinha’s protocol officer at the airport, said, “We have applied for renewal of permission to allow the MP use vehicle up to tarmac of airports. Despite three reminders, the MoCA has neither declined nor responded to our request yet.”

Asked about the privilege extended at Patna airport beyond the expiry of permission period, Kant said, “The MP was granted temporary permission to use ferry vehicle up to tarmac after we approached CISF authorities locally on the basis of our request to the MoCA for extension of permission. The MP had undergone a bypass surgery in 2016 and we requested for extension of favour on medical grounds.”

Sinha was extended the VIP facility of driving in his car to the apron even in absence of an airport ferry vehicle at Patna.

“The MP’s vehicle and personal driver used to drive him up to the apron only till such time the AAI got an airport ferry vehicle at Patna four-six months back. He now takes the normal passenger route at airports,” Kant said.

The BJP MP  from Patna Sahib has fallen out with the top party leadership and has even taken jibes at Prime Minister Narendra Modi on several occasions.

Sinha is believed to be cosying up to Lalu Prasad’s RJD, but had voted with his party against the no-confidence motion moved against the central government over the Rafale deal in July. Violating the party directive on voting in the Lok Sabha could have cost the MP his seat.

First Published: Jan 02, 2019 08:53 IST