Deserter IAF officer escapes from custody, yet untraced


Chandigarh : The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Haryana Police are hunting for a wing commander, declared a “deserter” December last year, after he escaped from air force custody from Ambala earlier this week, officials said Wednesday.

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Wing Commander Shashank Shekhar, from the engineering wing of the IAF and posted at the air force station at Raja Sansi-Amritsar in Punjab, had remained absent from duty from Oct 24 last year and was declared a deserter Dec 21, 2011. He was apprehended by air force staff from Raiwala area of Dehradun in Uttrakhand May 11.

The officer was brought to air force station at Haryana’s Ambala, 45 km from here, but he managed to give a slip to officials, in whose custody he was, in the early hours of May 13.

Around midnight May 13, Shekhar complained of uneasiness and suffocation and requested the two officers sitting outside the door of his room to allow him to step out for fresh air, officials said.

On being allowed to do so, the “deserter” escaped from the spot by suddenly running away. The two escort officers chased him but failed to catch him.

“A search has since been in progress to trace the officer,” an official spokesman said here.

The IAF officer’s mother, who lives in Ambala, had earlier written to the chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, expressing fear that her son may come to be harmed by the air force authorities in Amritsar.

She pointed out that her son was under a lot of stress and tension due to his superior officers at the Amritsar air force station.

However, air force sources said that the officer was disturbed owing to marital discord with his wife and divorce proceedings.