Elections 2019: Drone spotted at BJP candidate's rally in Mulund despite ban

Updated: Apr 12, 2019, 13:28 IST | Anurag Kamble | Mumbai

BJP secretary says device used for photography; cops verify video, say action will be taken if any wrongdoing found

A video grab shows the drone following Manoj Kotak's jeep
A video grab shows the drone following Manoj Kotak's jeep

Days after the Mumbai Police issued an order banning the use of drones in the city, one was seen flying at the rally of Manoj Kotak, BJP candidate for North-East Constituency, on April 8.

Even though cops were present at the spot, the alleged breach of rule was somehow overlooked. After being informed about it, police sources said that they would soon issue a show-cause notice and take action in case of any wrongdoing.

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On April 8, Kotak had taken out a huge rally from Ambaji Dham, MG Road to the office of the regional returning officer at Mulund West, when a drone was spotted following his jeep. Former MP Kirit Somaiyya was there with him in the car. However, sources revealed that the party's photographer used the drone to record a video footage of the event.

Manoj Kotak
Manoj Kotak

Police sources told mid-day that they have taken cognizance of the matter and would soon issue a show-cause notice to Kotak and the other officials involved. "We are trying to find out whether they had the required permission for using the drone. If yes, then they will have to produce the papers," a police officer said. Speaking to mid-day, BJP Mumbai Secretary Vivekanand Gupta said, "The drone was used strictly for photography purpose, and it was flying at a height of 15 feet from the ground.

As per the rules, permission is not required for flying drones at a maximum height of 50 feet. Also the route for which it was used did not have any important installation."

When contacted, Akhilesh Kumar Singh, DCP (Zone 3), said, "We have come across a couple of videos which shows the drone being used in the rally. It is being verified. We have also written to the returning officer to check whether the drone is seen in the video footages captured by them. If permission was not taken for it then we will initiate action against the violators."

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Police order

In an order issued last month, the Mumbai Police had banned the use of drones, remote-controlled micro-light aircrafts and para-gliders from March 21 to April 19. Only the city police could use these devices for aerial surveillance.

The order mentioned that violation of this rule would attract action under Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of IPC, punishable with imprisonment upto six months or a fine of Rs 1,000 or both.

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