When Manjunath saw off his son Rajeev Hosakote (30), a co-pilot with Pawan Hans helicopter, at Kempegowda International Airport near Bengaluru on August 3, little did he know that a tragedy was waiting to happen.
A day later, Manjunath heard about Pawan Hans helicopter, with his son and two others on board, going missing in Arunachal Pradesh.
All hopes of Rajeev’s survival were dashed on Aug 12, when the body of co-pilot Rajeev Hosakote was found, along with the bodies of pilot M S Brar and Tirap Deputy Commissioner Kamalesh Joshi, near the wreckage.
Manjunath had dropped his son at the airport in his car as the latter was to report to work after a two week-long vacation. Rajeev was working for the Pawan Hans, a Delhi-based helicopter service company, and was deputed at Guwahati for the past one year. He had boarded a direct flight to Guwahati from Bengaluru on the eve of the tragedy, Mohan, a BJP leader and family friend of Manjunath, who had accompanied the latter to Arunachal Pradesh, told Deccan Herald.
Rajeev did his schooling at St Joseph’s School in Jayalakshmipuram and PU at Sadvidya. He enrolled for Electronics and Engineering at Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering. He quit his engineering midway and joined a two-year pilot training course at HAL, Bengaluru in 2008.
Rajeev’s career took off with a private carrier of Congress leader Shamanur Shivashankarappa (now Horticulture Minister), where he served for three years. In recent years, he had flown Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, B S Yeddyurappa and several others. After joining Pawan Hans, Rajeev had acquired the skills to manoeuvre double engine copters in the hilly terrain of Northeastern states.
According to Mohan, the bodies were already decomposing when they were found, and Rajeev’s body was identified with the help of his shoelace. The last rites of Rajeev were performed at MCC crematorium near the foot of Chamundi Hill on Friday.
The body was brought from Bengaluru by road on Thursday night. Relative and friends paid their last respects to the deceased pilot at his Ramanuja Road house on Friday. Rajeev leaves behind his parents Manjunath and Vanishri, siblings Rakshit and Ramya. The grieving family members refused to speak to the press.
Pawan Hans safety issues Arunachal Pradesh government had annulled the contract of Pawan Hans Limited, a Delhi-based helicopter service company, in May 2011 after the then Arunachal Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu and four others on board the chopper were killed in a crash. The company bagged the contract two years later in 2013 and Rajeev landed the job a year later.
A family friend told Deccan Herald, “Rajeev was deputed at Arunachal Pradesh one year ago and had many successful flights in his career, including that of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren during the previous Lok Sabha elections. For nearly 22 days, Rajeev had flown Soren during the hustings.”