Bhopal: Former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj flew four times in a Bell 407 (B-407) helicopter owned by the Madhya Pradesh government in 2016 even though the Union Home Ministry had banned the use of single-engine helicopters for VIPs due to security concerns.
BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was the Chief Minister from 2005 to 2018, did not use the same helicopter after 2009, the first year the Union Home Ministry red flagged the use of single-engine helicopters. The Union ministry issued two more circulars on February 2 and October 10, 2018, continuing the ban on single-engine helicopters and planes for VIP duty.
The facts emerged during a debate on a motion in the MP Assembly moved by MLA Rajvardhan Singh recently. Law and Aviation Minister P C Sharma was responding to the motion in the presence of Chouhan and CM Kamal Nath.
“Was the CM’s (Chouhan’s) life more important than Sushma Swaraj or other (state) ministers who used the helicopter? Is a CM the only VIP? Are Union Cabinet ministers and state Cabinet ministers not considered VIPs?” the Congress MLA had asked.
29/07/19 Milind Ghatwai/Indian Express