By B S Reporter
An old feud between firebrand BJP member of parliament (MP) from Godda (Jharkhand) Nishikant Dubey and IAS officer Manjunath Bhajantri took an ugly turn with Jharkhand police registering an FIR against the IAS over the charges of sedition and for interfering with national security under the Officials secret Act. The FIR has been filed on the basis of zero FIR lodged by Dubey in Delhi's North Avenue police station almost a year ago on September 3, 2022.
Dubey hit back at Bhajantri, who had registered an FIR against Dubey and nine others including another BJP MP Manoj Tiwari allegedly for barging into Deoghar's air traffic control room and allegedly forcing officials to clear their chartered flight on September 1, last year.
Later in March this year, the Jharkhand High Court quashed the FIR lodged against Dubey terming the case as “mala fide”.
How fight between the two started?
The battle between the two started a year ago when Bhajantri, a 2011 batch IAS filed an FIR against Dubey, his two sons, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, and others for allegedly forcing the clearance of a chartered flight from the air traffic control (ATC) room of Deoghar Airport on 31 August beyond the scheduled time. Bhajantri, who has been recently made district collector of East Singhbhum, was then deputy commissioner in Deoghar.
All the nine people were booked under various sections in addition to the Aircraft Act. Besides Dubey and Tiwari, the airport director Sandeep Dhingra was also named in the FIR.
The FIR, lodged by airport security in-charge Suman Anan at Kunda police station, charged Dubey of violating safety standards when he insisted that the flight take off though there was no night take-off or landing facility at Deoghar.
Who is Manjunath Bhajantri?
Manjunath Bhajantri is a B. Tech graduate from IIT-Bombay and comes from a rural background.
Bhajantri had been deputy commissioner and district election officer (DEO) of Deoghar before being transferred a few days back as district collector of Jamshedpur. Earlier, he was on central deputation and had served at various posts, including private secretary to the Minister of State, Railways, and to the vice-chairman of NITI Aayog, before repatriating to his home cadre Jharkhand at the end of 2020.
Battle started much before
The first time scuffle between Bhajantri and Dubey started in April 2021 during the by election of Madhupur assembly constituency located in Deoghar parliamentary constituency of which Dubey is the MP. Bhajantri was then appointed as the deputy commissioner and district election officer (DEO) of Deoghar. During the course of election, Bhajantri sent a letter to the Election Commission (EC), alleging that Dubey had violated the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
Bhajantri is said to have lodged five different FIRs against Dubey involving violation of the MCC, months after the polls had ended. Dubey on the other hand complained that the action is the “malafide intention” of the IAS.
The EC also found no base for the FIRs against Dubey. It was ultimately not satisfied with Bhajantri's submissions, which included the statement “crime never dies”.
However, Election Commission took strong note of Bhajantri's action and recommended that the IAS should not be posted DC/DEO or any other election duty without prior permission of the Commission.