- Was doing my duty, officer facing action for checking PM's chopper said
- His suspension was revoked but poll body recommended action
- He was accused of insubordination and dereliction of duty
An IAS officer facing action for checking Prime Minister Narendra Modi's helicopter on April 16 said on Friday that he was "doing his job and would keep doing his duty by the rules". Mohammed Mohsin, a Karnataka officer, was suspended last week by the Election Commission. He challenged the order before the Central Administrative Tribunal, which put the action on hold on Thursday.
The Election Commission cancelled his suspension but has recommended disciplinary action against him.
"I was doing my duty. On the spur of the moment they have suspended me. I have not received a single report that can tell me what I have done. I am fighting for myself in the dark," he told NDTV.
The 1996 batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer was accused of "insubordination and dereliction of duty" by the Election Commission. As a general observer of Sambalpur in Odisha, the officer reportedly carried out a check of PM Modi's helicopter and asked for videography, which, according to reports, delayed the Prime Minister by 15 minutes.
"I ordered videography according to EC guidelines. I have been punished but the person who supposedly made the mistake has not been punished. Why should I be punished for doing my duty? The suspension was illegal and they are making the same mistake. I will fight it out in the tribunal," he said.
Mohammed Mohsin was accused of "not acting in conformity" with instructions on Special Protection Group (SPG) protectees, said an Election Commission order.
But there is no rule that exempts anyone from such checks during polls, a fact that opposition parties like the Congress flagged in tweets condemning the move.
The officer questioned why the SPG never objected when he asked for videography. "I did it in consultation with SPG, so why didn't they tell us the rules were different for protectees? The answers are just not coming..."
Cancelling the suspension on Thursday, the Central Administrative Tribunal said, "it cannot be said that SPG Protectees are eligible for anything and everything". It also pointed out that election officials had checked the private vehicles of Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik without any action.
Mr Mohsin said he would fight in the court of law. "I am a career bureaucrat with 22 years of service. I don't belong to any party. I go by rules," he said.