The death of two pilots in a state government-owned chopper crash in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur has rapid changed into a political controversy with each ruling Congress and opposition BJP levelling fees towards every different after revelations that the helicopter were going through technical problems for years.
The chopper crashed at Swami Vivekanand Airport in Raipur on Thursday evening when the state govt’s senior pilot Captain Gopal Krishna Panda was once on an evening observe sortie with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) examiner Captain A P Shrivastava, who had arrived from Delhi. Both Panda and Shrivastava had been killed.
“There has been some negligence somewhere over the helicopter’s maintenance. I demand a high-level enquiry,” BJP chief of opposition Dharamlal Kaushik mentioned on Friday. Several different BJP leaders additionally raised questions at the coincidence and the federal government’s next observation at the chopper’s technical malfunction.
The twin-engine, AW 109 Power Elite helicopter, used to ferry VIPs together with the manager minister, was once purchased in 2007 by means of the then BJP govt led by means of Raman Singh after its outdated helicopter crashed in July 2007, killing all 4 other people on board, together with two pilots.
On Friday, at the same time as a DGCA group landed in Raipur to probe the coincidence, Congress spokesperson Sushil Anand Shukla mentioned the BJP was once intentionally looking to politicise the dying of 2 pilots and defame them. “The pilots were adept at their jobs and they themselves oversaw maintenance of the chopper. But the BJP has forgotten some facts. The chopper had faced technical glitches soon after it was bought from an unauthorized shell company based out of Hong Kong by the BJP at a hiked price of Rs 65 lakh,” he mentioned.
Shukla additionally identified that the helicopter had confronted technical system defects when former Chhattisgarh leader minister Raman Singh used it, forcing him to make emergency landings. In 2016 too, the chopper needed to make an emergency touchdown when it was once ferrying former minister Brijmohan Agrawal, he added.
Even as each events engaged in a confrontation, officers within the know mentioned that the helicopter had passed through main upkeep up to now. “The chopper’s left engine was overhauled once and then it had to be replaced after it stopped functioning properly. Its right engine was also overhauled twice, the last time in 2017,” a state govt reliable mentioned on Friday.
In February 2018, the similar chopper, ferrying then leader minister Raman Singh, had made a precautionary touchdown inside a couple of mins of take-off from the Raipur Police Lines helipad after a technical snag was once detected, he mentioned. Earlier, in 2016, when Singh was once flying to the state capital from Sukma district, the chopper skilled a unexpected jolt and lack of top mid-air because of a technical snag, the reliable added.
Sources say the state aviation division had raised questions at the technical well being of the helicopter as just lately as August 2021 after it was once discovered to were overworked with out the essential apparatus trade.
Meanwhile, a five-member DGCA group comprising 4 assistant administrators and a senior flight operations trainer arrived overdue Friday to habits a probe. Prima facie, the tail rotor of the chopper turns out to have malfunctioned, inflicting the crash, resources mentioned.
Bodies of each the pilots had been passed over to their households on Friday. Captain Panda, a local of Sambalpur in Odisha, was once cremated in Raipur. He were serving within the state since 2011 and had deliberate on settling down within the state after retirement, his buddies mentioned. He was once a former Air Force Wing Commander.
Captain Shrivastava’s frame was once flown again to Delhi. A senior professional in night-time flying, he was once associated with baby-kisser Adarsh Shastri, grandson of overdue Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.