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Prashant Kishor denies taking cargo plane to Kolkata, demands proof of allegations




Prashant Kishor | Twitter
Prashant Kishor | Twitter

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New Delhi: Political strategist and former JD(U) vice president Prashant Kishor denied having travelled to Kolkata recently after reports emerged that he took a cargo flight to the West Bengal capital.

Speaking to ThePrint, Kishor said, “I haven’t taken any flight. The last time I was at the airport for that matter was on 19 March.”

However, when ThePrint asked if he traveled at all in the past few days to Kolkata, even by road, Kishor refused to comment.

Reports emerged that the political strategist flew to Kolkata after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee summoned him to counter-strategise against the Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT).

IMCT was sent to Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, and Jalpaiguri districts to assess the ground reality in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Let’s stick to what is in the public domain and what the Centre has sought a report about. If anyone had any other proof, they should come out in the open with that first, only then I will respond,” Kishor said.

Quoting top aviation sources, news agency ANI had reported that “on the directions of the government, aviation security authorities have checked the CCTV footage of three airports — Delhi, Kolkata and Guwahati — of the last 72 hours” to ascertain if Kishore had travelled recently.

Since the lockdown was imposed on 25 March, flights and trains have been cancelled to prevent movement and a further spread of the disease that has so far infected more than 23,000 people in India.

Also read: Why Nitish, Mamata, Uddhav and Kamal Haasan need Prashant Kishor

What civil aviation authorities say

A source in the aviation regulatory body Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told ThePrint that Kishor did not travel by a cargo flight from Delhi to Kolkata.

“We have checked with the three cargo operators, who operated to Kolkata, scanned the CCTV footage of all these departures and arrivals at the respective airports and also checked with other agencies operating at the airport,” the source told ThePrint.

The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security also said it didn’t have any information on Kishor travelling by air to Kolkata.

“He did not travel by air. We do not have any such information,” a source said.

ANI quoted Prashant as saying that those claiming that he took a cargo or for that matter, any flight, “should at least have basic information like flight number, flight operator, date time, etc., in the public domain or apologise for making such a statement”.

Kishore, though did not clarify his current location and his travel history.

(With ANI inputs)

Also read: Prashant Kishor is seen as an election magician. But he wins only when in winning team


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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