The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) sub-inspector Sitaram Chaudhuri — one of the main accused in the scuffle at Calicut Airport and the owner of the pistol from which the fatal shot was fired killing CISF head constable SS Yadav — was hauled for rough frisking by hand-held metal detectors and was transferred to cargo area two months before the incident in April this year.
He was transferred after a complaint against Chaudhuri and one more official was filed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to CISF. Both of them were then transferred to the cargo side of the airport.
Sources in the Ministry of Civil Aviation said a close analysis of recorded footage has shown the rough frisking of an official of AAI’s fire and rescue wing Aji Kumar with a hand-held metal detector, his protest and subsequent beating up by sub-inspector Chaudhuri led to a violent clash and resulted in the death of Yadav in an accidental firing.
The local police have arrested 10 AAI employees and 13 CISF personnel involved in the incident till date. “This is not the first time … In April, the Airports Authority of India had filed a complaint against Chaudhuri for rough handling. He was consequently transferred to the cargo wing from the passenger area,” said a senior ministry official who did not wish to be identified. The official added that the video shows Kumar discussing something with Chaudhuri and pointing towards his legs.
When asked about the earlier complaint against Chaudhuri, a spokesperson at CISF said, “A team of officials are in Calicut at present investigating the incident. They are probing the factors which cumlinated in the clash between CISF personnel and AAI employees. A report will be filed shortly and measures taken to prevent any recurrence at the airport there and also in any other airport managed by the CISF in the country.”
The civil aviation ministry has compiled a preliminary enquiry report into the incident and asked CISF to sensitise its personnel to frisk passengers and staff in a manner which is not offensive. CISF director general Surender Singh said on Tuesday that instructions have been issued directing all its personnel to render their duties courteously. “We have told our personnel to increasingly render their duties with a smile and in a courteous manner. But there can be no compromise on security,” he said.
The recent scuffle between AAI and CISF has also made the ministry reconsider an earlier proposal by the International Civil Aviation Organisation for the creation of an Aviation Security Force (ASF).
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