‘Missed opportunity to restore EC’s image’: Former CEC on suspension of IAS officer for PM's chopper search

On Twitter, the former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi further lauded Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik for his ‘statesmanlike conduct’.

Missed opportunity to restore Election Commission image- Former CEC SY Quraishi on suspension of IAS officer for PM Narendra Modi chopper search
“This raid on PM Modi’s chopper should have been used to demonstrate that the law is equal for everybody. In one stroke, the intense criticism against them both would have come crumbling down.” Quraishi added./ IMAGE: DrSYQuraishi
By: ABP News Bureau
Updated: 19 Apr 2019 09:32 AM
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Terming it a violation of norms in dealing with SPG protectees, earlier on Wednesday night, the EC had suspended an IAS officer for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter in Odisha's Sambalpur.
  • In its order, the Commission said Mohammad Mohsin was suspended for actions contrary to its instructions concerning those being protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG).
  • The poll body took the action against Mohsin, the general observer of Sambalpur, on the basis of a report submitted by the district collector and deputy inspector general of police.
  • Modi was learnt to have been held up at Sambalpur for nearly 15 minutes because of Mohsin's "actions".
NEW DELHI: Former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi called Election Commission’s suspension of an IAS officer for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter in Odisha as 'unfortunate'. He termed it as a missed opportunity to restore not just the EC’s image but also PM Narendra Modi himself.

“This raid on PM Modi’s chopper should have been used to demonstrate that the law is equal for everybody. In one stroke, the intense criticism against them both would have come crumbling down.” Quraishi added.


On Twitter, the former Chief Election Commissioner further lauded Odisha CM for his ‘statesmanlike conduct’.



Terming it a violation of norms in dealing with SPG protectees, earlier on Wednesday night, the EC had suspended an IAS officer for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter in Odisha's Sambalpur. In its order, the Commission said Mohammad Mohsin was suspended for actions contrary to its instructions concerning those being protected by the Special Protection Group (SPG).

The poll body took the action against Mohsin, the general observer of Sambalpur, on the basis of a report submitted by the district collector and deputy inspector general of police. Modi was learnt to have been held up at Sambalpur for nearly 15 minutes because of Mohsin's "actions".

"Checking of the prime minister's chopper, undertaken at Sambalpur, was not in accordance with the EC guidelines as SPG protectees are exempt from such checking," said an official in Bhubaneswar.

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 Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's chopper at Sambalpur on Tuesday.

At a briefing for the second phase of polling on Thursday, EC officials were repeatedly asked to provide a copy of the instruction under which the official was suspended. The officials replied that the instruction was part of the overall manual of instructions issued by the poll panel from time to time.

However, there was no clarity as to whether the instruction barred search of PM's convoy or the aircraft/helicopter.

Modi had visited Sambalpur to address an election rally on April 16. The Congress had criticised the EC's action against Mohsin, a Karnataka cadre IAS officer, saying the rules cited by it to punish the bureaucrat do not exempt PM's vehicle from being searched.

"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," the party said in a tweet.

"What is Modi carrying in the helicopter that he doesn't want India to see," it asked.

The Aam Aadmi Party also took a jibe at Modi in a tweet.

"Suspension of the officer who checked PM's helicopter. The chowkidar lives in his own protected shell! Is the Chowkidar trying to hide something," it asked.

There have been instances where during polls the EC  allowed checking of convoys of both current and the former Congress president. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also took strong objection to the EC suspending the official and asked what message is being sent through the action.

"SPG protectees can't be frisked personally. Why suspend an officer for checking PM's chopper? What message is being sent? Law is special for some," he tweeted.

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