Deoghar Flight Take-Off Row: BJP MP Trashes ‘Safety Breach’ Allegation

NEW DELHI | Updated: 03 September, 2022 7:23 pm IST
BJP MPs Manoj Tiwari and Nishikant Dubey were returning to Delhi after meeting family members of Ankita Singh who was killed by one Shahrukh in Dumka.

A war of words has erupted after the Jharkhand Police registered an FIR on Friday against BJP MPs Nishi Kant Dubey, Manoj Tiwari, former Delhi MLA Kapil Mishra, two sons of Nishi Kant Dubey, Sandeep Dhingra, the director of the Deoghar Airport, and others for allegedly forcing the Air Traffic Control (ATC) officials to allow take-off a chartered flight.

The FIR was registered on the complaint of Deputy SP of Deoghar Airport security Suman Anand. It was registered at Kunda police station on September 1, 2022. Deputy SP Anand has alleged that the said persons violated all safety norms and the security of the airport’s ATC was compromised after they entered the prohibited area and forced the officials to grant clearance for the take-off.

When asked about the incident, Nishi Kant Dubey, who is a Lok Sabha member from the Godda parliamentary seat, said, “There was no violation of rules and everything was done on time.” “The airport belongs to the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and all clearances by the ATC are monitored by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS). The overall security of the airport falls under the Ministry of Civil Aviation,” the MP said.

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The BJP MP accused Deputy Commissioner (DC) Deoghar Manjunath Bhajantri of being prejudiced against him.  Later, he filed a counter FIR under sections 124B, 353, 120-B, 441,448, 201 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 2/2 of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) against Bhajantri in North Avenue Police Station in Delhi. Since the place of occurrence was Deoghar airport, Delhi Police has lodged a ‘Zero FIR’ which will be transferred to Deoghar police for further investigation.

The copy of zero FIR filed by BJP MP Nishikant Dubey in New Delhi.

“The DC knew that the case won’t stand the scrutiny of the High Court Ranchi. Security in-charge Suman Anand, who is from the Jharkhand Police, is also the director of the airport. It appears he was pressured by the DC to lodge an FIR against me and others,” he alleged.

“According to the FIR, we arrived at the airport around 5.15 pm and were seated inside the aircraft at 5.25 pm. Since the local time of the sunset was 6.04 pm, there was no other flight. It takes 20 minutes for the take-off. I am unable to comprehend which rule has been violated by me and the co-passengers,” the MP said.

“DC Deoghar Manjunath Bhajantri is citing laws as the reason behind the registration of the FIR while the director of the airport says no rules were broken and everything was done in accordance with the laid down procedure. BCA, AAI, ATCS, and DGCA aren’t filing a case but DC Deoghar was in a hurry to register an FIR against me. He named my two sons who were with me. CCTV footage shows I was walking barefoot and my son was carrying my shoes. Since DC Deoghar has already filed so many cases, he wanted this FIR to be filed against me,” Dubey told The New Indian.

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“I went to the house of Ankita Singh, who was burnt to death by the accused Shahrukh, along with my colleague Manoj Tiwari and Kapil Mishra. We were there to seek justice for the minor girl. Today, Jharkhand is in a precarious situation as it’s moving towards Islamization with the active help of the ruling dispensation. They have filed 37 cases so far against me and my family. As many as 15 FIRs are registered against my wife and my young sons booked. I will fight all these cases in the court of law but will keep raising my voice against the injustice,” the BJP MP added.

It has been learnt that the DC Deoghar has written to the Principal Secretary, Cabinet-Coordination (Civil Aviation), Jharkhand and has spelt out the entire incident that led to the take-off of the chartered flight carrying BJP MPs Nishikant Dubey, Manoj Tiwari, and others. The DC has contended that Deoghar Airport has no night flying facilities; hence, the flights are barred from taking off after sunset. He had also accused Nishi Kant Dubey and others of forcibly entering ATC at Deoghar Airport without seeking prior permission and exerting pressure on ATC officials to grant take-off clearance on August 31, 2022.

“All these charges are bogus, no rule was violated and the flight took off as per the laid down protocol,” Dubey told The New Indian.

Interestingly, the Election Commission of India (ECI) ordered the removal of Manjunath Bhajantri, DC Deoghar, on December 06, 2021, and directed the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand to initiate disciplinary proceedings for the major penalty. The Election Commission has asked the Jharkhand Government that “Manjunth Bhajnatri, DC-cum-DEO Deoghar, should not be posted as DC/DEO or on any other election-related duty without prior permission of the Commission”. The order for the immediate removal of the DC was signed by Rahul Sharma, the Principal Secretary, ECI.

However, the Jharkhand Government did not heed the orders of the ECI, and Manjunath Bhajnatri was retained as the DC Deoghar. The ECI had acted against the assembly constituency. The DC had ordered the registration of an FIR against Nishi Kant Dubey on the charges of violation of the model code of conduct. The said FIRs were filed after six months of the by-elections. The ECI had sought an explanation from the DC for “the inordinate delay in filing FIRs” but the DC failed to furnish satisfactory answers.

“I have written a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Rajiv Kumar, regarding the illegal activities of DC Deoghar as he has been involved in updating the voters’ list.

Since the ECI has dismissed DC Deoghar from his role as the district election officer because of his blatant misuse of power, his continuation in office is illegal. The DC is trying to alter the voters’ demography by carrying out additions with the intention to help an individual and a party. DC Deoghar should not be allowed to function even for a day after the EC orders,” Dubey added.

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