India’s Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) personnel arrested 10 Nepali youths from Kalpokhari of Darjeeling, on Sunday for flying drone ‘without proper documents and valid licence’.
The chief judicial magistrate’s court in Darjeeling yesterday remanded the youths to judicial custody for a week.
The SSB then submitted a written complaint to Darjeeling Police, stating that Nepali youths were flying drone above the international border near Pillar No 58/3 and 58/4 without proper documents and valid licence, according to a statement issued by Darjeeling Police.
The case had now been handed over to the forest department, since the arrests were made from an area under the ambit of the Singalila National Park. The forest department will carry out an investigation and ascertain the charges.
However, the Indian authorities have yet to inform the Nepali Consulate General in Kolkata or the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi about the arrests.
Officials of the Nepali embassy in New Delhi said they had not yet been informed about the incident.
According to Darjeeling Police statement, those arrested are Bigyan Gautam, 29, Biswas Ghimire, 25, of Arjun Dhara, Jhapa; Nishchal Karki, 23, of Garamani, Jhapa; Devindra Sitoula, 28, Kamal Subedi, 23, Dipan Goutam, 23, Animesh Bhattarai, 24, of Birtamod, Jhapa; Samay Rijal, 26, of Sitapaila, Kathmandu; Krishna Sapkota, 24, of Bharatpur, Chitwan and Subodh Tripati, 23, of Dhading.
The authorities also seized a remote-controlled drone (DJI Mavic Pro), a remote controller, a memory card (16 GB) and Realme-3 Pro smartphone, the statement said.
The accused have been booked for endangering life, showing negligence while using machinery, wilfully flying a drone in such a way that it may cause danger to any person (Section 11/11 of Aircraft Act-1934) and under sections of the Wildlife Act, according to a report published by The Telegraph.
The Nepali youths also violated guidelines and notification of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which makes it mandatory for all aerial vehicles, including drones, to be registered with the digital sky portal. Besides, they must have permits also, the report adds.
During interrogation, the accused confessed that they ‘used the drone inside Indian territory’, The Telegraph quoted a police official as saying.