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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

Checking of Rahul, Abhishek Banerjee's helicopters: EC sources refer to standing instructions

Asked about Rahul Gandhi's helicopter being checked, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the prime minister's helicopter and the home minister's helicopter should also be checked

PTI New Delhi Published 15.04.24, 08:42 PM
Rahul Gandhi and Abhishek Banerjee.

Rahul Gandhi and Abhishek Banerjee. File picture.

Surveillance and inspection of non-scheduled aircraft and helicopters by the agencies during poll season is part of standing instructions, the Election Commission sources said Monday as authorities checked the helicopter of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Tamil Nadu.

A few days back, the helicopter of TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee was also inspected by the authorities in West Bengal.

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Responding to queries on the issue, the sources referred to the EC's statement issued on Monday on the seizures made by the authorities in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.

The statement referred to Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar's remarks while announcing the poll schedule where he had stressed on strict compliance of BCAS instructions on surveillance and inspection of non-scheduled aircraft and helicopters by the Income Tax department, airport authorities and the SPs of concerned districts.

"The Commission during reviews had always emphasised that there will be multi-pronged surveillance on all modes of transport -- check posts and nakas for road transport, Coast Guard for coastal routes and DMs and SPs alongside agencies for air routes including checking of helicopters and non-scheduled flights," the statement said.

Asked about Rahul Gandhi's helicopter being checked, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the prime minister's helicopter and the home minister's helicopter should also be checked.

"The day before yesterday, my car was also checked, my shaving cream was taken out, my toothpaste was taken out, my entire suitcase was taken out. I remained silent, I said, whatever has to be done, do it. ...check the Prime Minister's chopper, check the Home Minister's chopper, check all the choppers, level the playing field (should be there)," he said.

"You are an impartial institution, a constitutional institution, understand your rights and treat all parties equally. Don't give special category status to the Prime Minister, don't give special category status to the Home Minister. If you want to check the vehicles, do it, if you want to check the chopper, do it, we have no objection," he said.

The election officials in the Nilgiris on Monday conducted checks in a helicopter carrying Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.

The flying squad officials conducted the search after the helicopter landed, police said.

Rahul Gandhi was on his way to his parliamentary constituency Wayanad in Kerala.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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