Sedition and conspiracy charges have now entered the row over BJP MPs allegedly forcing a take-off clearance for their chartered plane at Jharkhand’s Deoghar airport. Charged with trespass, MP Nishikant Dubey has alleged that the local police abused and threatened to kill his two sons “at the behest of Deputy Commissioner Manjunath Bhajantri”. He’s already justified his family members having entered the area, saying they were “bringing my slippers as I’d walked in barefoot”.
In the August 31 incident, Mr Dubey and fellow MP Manoj Tiwari were among nine people who allegedly barged into the Air Traffic Control (ATC) area and forcibly got clearance past sunset, even though the airport is not yet okayed for night operations. They were charged with criminal trespass and putting lives in danger, police said, on a complaint by the airport security in-charge.
A piqued Mr Dubey, Lok Sabha member from Godda, first got into a tiff with the DC on Twitter, and today filed what’s essentially a counter case against him and local cops.
The row has political context, too.
It comes when Chief Minister Hemant Soren is staring at disqualification for allegedly awarding a mining lease to himself, and his party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, says it’s part of a larger BJP game to topple the government.
MP Nishikant Dubey is seen as a key BJP leader in all of this. He has been demanding mid-term polls “on moral grounds”.
Over the takeoff row, in a Twitter exchange, Mr Dubey called the district’s head bureaucrat, DC Bhajantri, a “chamcha” (lackey) of the Chief Minister. The officer, meanwhile, wrote to the Principal Secretary, Cabinet Coordination (Civil Aviation), Jharkhand, about the takeoff. And the MP, in turn, wrote to the district police chief, accusing the bureaucrat of obstructing his work.
Now, the MP’s FIR carries allegations of criminal intimidation, obstructing public servant, trespass, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy, besides sedition, under the IPC, plus charges as per the Official Secrets Act.