Kathmandu, October 15
Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Pramod Sah was arrested today from Tribhuvan International Airport for ‘vandalising’ Buddha Air counter in Janakpur yesterday.
He was arrested at around 12:45pm from the VIP lounge of the domestic airport before he could board a Solukhumbu bound flight and was flown to Dhanusha to face criminal charges.
Superintendent of Police at Dhanusha District Police Shekhar Khanal told THT over phone that Sah would be charged in the court tomorrow.
He was produced before Dhanusha District Court today at around 5:30pm but his arraignment process could not be completed as the court had already closed for the day.
Earlier this morning, Civil Aviation Authority Office, Janakpur, lodged a first information report against Sah under Civil Aviation Act at Dhanusha District Police office accusing him of vandalising the counter of Buddha Air after the private airlines’ Kathmandu bound flight from Janakpur was delayed by almost three hours yesterday.
RJP-N Central Committee member Anil Kumar Mahaseth said the FIR did not specifically invoke any section of the Civil Aviation Act.
Airlines Operators Association of Nepal had threatened to halt air service to and from Janakpur if action was not taken against lawmaker Sah.
AOAN Chair Rameshwor Thapa said, “If an airlines’ crew and ground handlers or employees deployed at airports cannot work freely, if pilots cannot work without fear, then how can they ensure aviation security?”
Police can keep Sah in custody for up to 25 days.
Coordinator of RJP-N Presidium Mahantha Thakur issued a press release condemning Sah’s arrest. Thakur said Sah had merely protested against flight delay and the incident was blown out of proportion.
“We urge the government to release Sah immediately and ensure timely and regular service of airlines so as to address people’s concerns or else the government will be responsible for any adverse consequence,” Thakur said in a press release.
According to RJP-N General Secretary Keshav Jha, Sah was protesting against Buddha Air as he was concerned about the health of a co-passenger, a kidney patient.
If convicted, Sah could face jail term up to five years.
Sah represents Sarlahi Constituency No 1 in the HoR.
A version of this article appears in print on October 16, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.