OffStumped For All Things Right of Center, Bringing a Right of Centre Reality Check to Indian Politics, News Media Reporting and Opinion now in Hindi अब आप के लिये हिंदी मे.

Since Offstumped posted this piece some more findings. The MHA spent 25 crores in 2006-2007 on Civil Aviation all of it was unplanned expenditure, any one’s guess how much of the 25 crores was spent on IAF flights to ferret Sonia Gandhi to Congress meetings like the one in Chakur, Latur on October 30 2006. A similar amount was budgeted for 2007-2008.

Consider this Sonia Gandhi was in Srinagar to attend a women’s rally organized by the Congress Party. Unfortunately Sonia Gandhi was to also cut short her trip to rush New Delhi to meet Mexican President Felipe Calderon Hinojosa. How can Sonia do both, well fly the IAF. But there is a catch. She is not entitled to fly the IAF. So what does she do ?

In comes the gutless wonder and showpiece of a Home Minister, Mr. Shivraj Patil.

It looks like gutless wonder Shivraj Patil accompanied her to attend the women’s rally in Srinagar.

Now in yesterday’s post we examined the policy for Other Entitled Persons, OEP, the category to which Shivraj Patil belongs by virtue of being the Home Minister. Based on the OEP 3 questions arise

What official business was the Home Minister attending to at a congress party event in Srinagar

Why did he not use commercial air ?

Has the MHA paid the IAF the cost of flying Sonia Gandhi to a congress party rally in Srinagar ?

Most importantly if it was a Shivraj Patil sponsored IAF junket that Sonia hopped on why are all news reports calling it Sonia’s IAF flight and not the Home Minister’s IAF flight.

In fact so irrelevant was Shivraj Patil’s presence in Srinagar that there is no mention whatsoever in any of the media reports that the near miss mid-air had India’s Home Minister at risk. In fact Offstumped had to literally scrounge news reports to find out which OEP sponsored the Srinagar IAF Junket for Sonia Gandhi only to find Shivraj Patil’s name in the footnotes in some obscure news site.

In fact on Sept 10th the day Shivraj Patil accompanied Sonia to Srinagar there is virtually no soundbite, official release attributed to him for his “official” visit to Srinagar. Neither the Press Information Bureau nor the Ministry of Home Affairs had anything to say about his Srinagar visit. Mr. Patil could have as well been a zombie on this IAF junket to Srinagar and nobody would have missed him it appears.

So how jobless is the Home Minister that he abandons official duty in these testing times of internal security to flout policy and sponsor a IAF Junket so Sonia Gandhi can troop over to Srinagar for a Congress Party function while all this time the Home Minister is merely a mute spectator ?

This is not the first time Shivraj Patil has misused his OEP status to facilitate a IAF flight for Sonia Gandhi. On Jan 12 2006 he accompanied Sonia Gandhi to Kalinga Nagar in an IAF Chopper. On 10 Aug 2006 he accompanied Sonia Gandhi to Amalapuram in an IAF Chopper. October 30 once again he accompanied Sonia Gandhi in an IAF Planer and Chopper to Bidar, Chakur in Latur (Shivraj’s home constituency) to attend a farmer’s rally. None of these IAF Junkets were for Defence purposes. Almost all of them were for Congress Party related activities with the primary focus being on Sonia Gandhi and Shivraj Patil incidentally present.

Shivraj Patil is not the only one sponsoring IAF Junkets for Sonia’s convenience. On 22 Jan 2006 the Prime Minister carried her to Hyderabad in an IAF plane, 2 Feb 2006 another IAF Junket to Bandlapalli in Andhra. Mar 26 2006 Sudheendra Kulkarni writing in the Indian Express during the Office of Profit crisis highlights how Sonia Gandhi had been misusing her Office of Profit through IAF Junkets thrown by Pranab Mukherjee then Defence Minister.

Here is a particularly galling episode that resulted from a Sonia Gandhi IAF Junket. The 10 Aug IAF travel in Andhra resulted in the IAF Choppers not airdropping food for the flood affected. The Times News Network on 12 Aug 2006 carries this story on how flood victims go hungry courtersy Madam’s abuse of the IAF’s vital resources.

More than one lakh flood victims, majority of them tribals in the Bhadrachalam area, were forced to starve for a day when AICC president Sonia Gandhi made a whirlwind tour of the flood-affected parts of Khammam and East Godavari districts on Wednesday

Aug 31 Pranab Mukherjee throws another IAF Junket to Sonia’s benefit to visit Barmer Rajasthan. Nov 4 and 5th Chennai Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hitches Sonia with a IAF ride.

The abuse of the IAF goes on …….

Offstumped Bottomline: Home Minister Shivraj Patil is so jobless that he can fly the IAF for Sonia’ benefit even though he had absolutely no official business transact in Srinagar that was worthy of public mention. He will do so at the expense of the Nation’s Defence Apparatus.

Offstumped poser to the Home Minister: Sir, do you have any self respect left to be taken seriously as the custodian of our Internal Security ?

Offstumped poser to Sonia Gandhi: Madam, do you have such a thing as shame for your blatant misuse of the Indian Air Force and the National Defence Apparatus for your Party Junkets ?


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