Defence Minister A K Antony raps home ministry
Defence Minister A K Antony on Wednesday came out in the open against the Home Ministry over the controversy relating to IAF pilots leaving behind an injured policeman in a Chhattisgarh forest area last month after Maoists fired at them during an evacuation.
He asked the Home Ministry not to “make a mountain out of a mole hill.” “The IAF is helping the paramilitary forces in these operations. The IAF had carried out 172 evacuations earlier and during this period, there was no complaint. In the 173rd evacuation, there was a small problem and we take this very seriously,” he said in reply to a query. However, Antony described the tug-of-war between the Home Ministry and the Defence Ministry as an “internal family matter”.
Home Secretary R K Singh had wrote to Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma to probe the January 18 incident in which an IAF Mi-17 helicopter came under Maoist gunfire resulting in damage to its hydraulics and other critical systems. The helicopter was forced to land in a forest area. And an injured policeman on board was left behind along with the chopper by the IAF crew. The pilot and his team then trekked 2.25 km to Chintagufa police station after which a CRPF team rescued the injured policeman.