Two Bangladeshi nationals have been arrested for alleged unauthorised use of a drone to capture photographs of the Victoria Memorial, which is in close proximity to the army’s Eastern Command headquarters at Fort William.
Police identified the accused as Mohammad Shifat, 20, and Mohammad Zillur Rahman, 35, from Rajshahi district in Bangladesh.
The police said they received a complaint from the CISF that its personnel reported that two foreigners were spotted flying a drone from the first-floor balcony on the northern side of the Victoria Memorial around noon on Wednesday.
They allegedly failed to produce any permission required to fly a drone in the Maidan area, said an officer of Hastings police station where a case has been registered.
“According to the complaint by assistant sub-inspector, CISF, Buddhadeb Karmakar, the two men were seen flying a drone in a suspicious manner without permission from the authorities,” said the officer of Hastings police station.
The rulebook says that anyone who wishes to fly a drone in the Victoria Memorial compound needs to seek permission, mentioning the purpose of the recording, from the authorities of the monument. “If we get any such request, we pass it on to the army for their consideration. They are the deciding authority on this matter,” said an official of the Memorial.
Sources said the permissible height to fly a drone in the Victoria compound after getting permission is 15 metres from the ground.
CISF officials said the men were seen flying the drone in a “suspicious manner with the help of a remote control,” without any permission from the Memorial, army or the directorate general of civil aviation.
The duo have been booked under the IPC sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servants), 268 (public nuisance), 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others). They have also been booked under Section 11A of the Aircraft Act 1934.
Deputy commissioner (south) Akash Magharia said the two claimed they had come to Kolkata on their way to Australia. “They came here three days ago. We are verifying their claims,” he said.