| The main gate of the Birsa Munda Airport. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, June 9: While officially the chapter has been “closed”, the ugly incident at the Birsa Munda airport yesterday has cast a fresh cloud over the controversial IAS officer Pradeep Kumar, the deputy commissioner of Ranchi.
Kumar, believed to be close to the chief minister, has been accused of misconduct, abusing airport security and even ordering the state police to open fire and arrest the CISF assistant commandant posted at the airport.
First it was chief minister Arjun Munda who threw a tantrum when airport security stopped his finance minister from accompanying him directly to the aircraft. But after the plane took off, it was the turn of Kumar to throw his weight around.
The Union home ministry and the CISF are learnt to have taken a dim view of the officer’s behaviour. The CISF today rushed its Jamshedpur-based DIG, Sunil Roy, to file a first-hand report on the incident. Munda’s personal staff had called up the deputy commissioner and police from eight different police stations so as to teach the CISF jawans a lesson.
A pitched battle was averted, claimed CISF sources, only because the central force exercised commendable restraint.
Roy, tracked by the The Telegraph this evening, would merely say, “My boys have performed their duty well and there was no breach of discipline on their part; I appreciate whatever they have done.” Asked what he was told by the deputy commissioner, Roy refused to comment before adding tersely, “ask him”.
Yesterday, the chief minister threw a tantrum when his car was stopped by airport security at the VIP gate. Under the protocol, he was informed, only the chief minister could drive straight to the tarmac but even his family members are required to go through the normal security checks. Accordingly, finance minister Raghubar Das, who was sitting beside the CM, was asked to get down from the car.
Airport security today claimed that the deputy commissioner lost his temper, abused CISF jawans and screamed that the CISF assistant commandant and the airport director could be arrested on the charge of “attempt to murder the chief minister”.
CISF personnel are surprised at the situation actually turning ugly and spinning out of control even after they had relented and escorted Raghubar Das to the aircraft along with the chief minister. The protocol, they pointed out, lists 18 different VIPs starting with the President, who can be allowed in without a security check.
They also pointed out that the former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who also took the same flight to New Delhi, had gone through the security checks without any fuss. The fracas created by the deputy commissioner and the police was unwarranted, they felt. “We were unnecessarily humiliated and browbeaten,” they complained.