The death of two pilots in a state government-owned chopper crash in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur has quick changed into a political controversy with each ruling Congress and opposition BJP levelling expenses in opposition to one another after revelations that the helicopter had been going through technical points for years.
The chopper crashed at Swami Vivekanand Airport in Raipur on Thursday night time when the state authorities’s senior pilot Captain Gopal Krishna Panda was on an evening follow sortie with Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) examiner Captain A P Shrivastava, who had arrived from Delhi. Both Panda and Shrivastava have 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 stated on Friday. Several different BJP leaders additionally raised questions on the accident and the federal government’s subsequent assertion on the chopper’s technical malfunction.
The twin-engine, AW 109 Power Elite helicopter, used to ferry VIPs together with the chief minister, was purchased in 2007 by the then BJP authorities led by Raman Singh after its previous helicopter crashed in July 2007, killing all 4 folks on board, together with two pilots.
On Friday, whilst a DGCA group landed in Raipur to probe the accident, Congress spokesperson Sushil Anand Shukla stated the BJP was intentionally attempting to politicise the demise of two 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 stated.
Shukla additionally identified that the helicopter had confronted technical glitches when former Chhattisgarh chief 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 ferrying former minister Brijmohan Agrawal, he added.
Even as each events engaged in a disagreement, officers within the know stated that the helicopter had undergone main repairs prior 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 authorities official stated on Friday.
In February 2018, the identical chopper, ferrying then chief minister Raman Singh, had made a precautionary touchdown inside a couple of minutes of take-off from the Raipur Police Lines helipad after a technical snag was detected, he stated. Earlier, in 2016, when Singh was flying to the state capital from Sukma district, the chopper skilled a sudden jolt and lack of peak mid-air attributable to a technical snag, the official added.
Sources say the state aviation division had raised questions on the technical well being of the helicopter as lately as August 2021 after it was discovered to have been overworked with out the mandatory tools change.
Meanwhile, a five-member DGCA group comprising 4 assistant administrators and a senior flight operations teacher arrived late Friday to conduct a probe. Prima facie, the tail rotor of the chopper appears to have malfunctioned, inflicting the crash, sources stated.
Bodies of each the pilots have been handed over to their households on Friday. Captain Panda, a local of Sambalpur in Odisha, was cremated in Raipur. He had been serving within the state since 2011 and had deliberate on settling down within the state after retirement, his pals stated. He was a former Air Force Wing Commander.
Captain Shrivastava’s physique was flown again to Delhi. A senior knowledgeable in night-time flying, he was associated to politician Adarsh Shastri, grandson of late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.