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Sonia monitoring Reddy search operation

By Renu Mittal in New Delhi
September 02, 2009 22:58 IST
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Congress party President Sonia Gandhi is personally monitoring the government's efforts to locate Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy whose helicopter went missing on Wednesday morning.

She met with Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, her political secretary Ahmed Patel and others on Wednesday evening to take stock of the situation.

She has spoken to Dr Reddy's family and assured them that the government is doing everything in its power to locate the chief minister and the four others traveling with him.

Sources say the search operations in the state are being supervised by AP Finance Minister K Rosaiah, a senior Congress leader. Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, who is also the party general secretary in charge of Andhra Pradesh, and Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office, flew to Hyderabad on Wednesday night to help monitor the situation.

The central government has requested the US government to deploy its powerful satellites to locate the helicopter, which is believed to have landed in forests previously infested by Naxalites on whose hit-list Chief Minister Reddy features prominently.

Government sources say the Union home ministry is being cautious after the Mumbai attacks where the terrorists obtained information from the news television channels.

This time around, with Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram in charge, sources expect that the search and rescue operations will be conducted in a manner vastly different from what happened in Mumbai.

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Renu Mittal in New Delhi
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