10 jeep lights guide Rajnath's aircraft

Centre orders probe to check if DGCA norms were violated


Taking note of the incident, Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has ordered a probe by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and appealed to VIPs not to pressurise pilots to operate flights.

“It is too premature to say who is responsible till the inquiry is over. But I would appeal to VIPs not to pressurise pilots,” Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel told reporters in New Delhi.

BJP leaders in New Delhi have denied that Singh’s airplane violated safety norms saying it was entirely the pilot’s decision and their president was not in a haste to leave.

Visibility issues

Singh accompanied by  former Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda, state unit president Raghuvar Das and MP Nishikant Dubey in the chartered eight-seater airplane were returning to Ranchi after attending a public meeting in Godda.

Sources close to Rajnath Singh claimed that the small aircraft required a visibility of up to 800 metres which was there during takeoff. Asked what then was the need for the vehicles to be lined up along the airstrip, they maintained that these were “not meant to aid the takeoff”.

However, BJP’s Dumka district chief Bipin Agarwal said as the pilot could not get a full view of the runway in the darkness, jeeps parked along the runway turned their headlights on to enable the aircraft to take off.

According to reports, 10 jeeps put their headlights on.

Probe ordered

Jharkhand Civil Aviation Secretary P K Jajoria said he would look into the matter. “Though it’s a private aircraft, we will look into it,” he said.

After addressing a public meeting in Godda on Monday, Singh drove to neighbouring Dumka to board the flight which took off at 5.55 pm — an hour late behind schedule.
Sources close to Singh claimed that the flight was delayed “by five minutes only” as it took off at 1745 hours instead of the “scheduled departure time of 1740 hours”.

They also claimed that Kolkata ATC had given clearance to the aircraft for takeoff.

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