CBI to investigate YSR death

Home Minister P Sabita Indra Reddy told the media that Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has agreed to a request in this regard.

Reddy said: “There are several doubts in the minds of the eight crore people of this state about the crash. The government decided to go for a thorough inquiry and place all the facts before the people.”

The state would also hold an investigation and a two-member expert committee comprising M R Reddy, a retired IPS official and an expert in VIP security, and H S Kola, former director general, civil aviation, has been appointed to investigate all aspects of the incident and the events before and after the crash. The committee will submit its report in two months.

However, she did not explain why an enquiry was needed at the state level. A press release from the CM’s office clarified that the government was ‘determined to bring out all details and facts’ behind the incident.

Two more enquiries are also in progress. The state government has already ordered a probe by the Crime Investigation Department while the Central government has appointed a panel comprising the Director General of Civil Aviation to conduct an inquiry. The decision to seek a CBI enquiry was taken at a high level cabinet meeting held on Monday morning. Following this, Chief Minister K Rosaiah spoke to the Union Home Minister, who agreed to the request.

If only...

Meanwhile, a preliminary report by the criminal investigation department  has said if YSR had waited for two more hours, a new Augusta Westland 139 chopper would have been made available to him instead of the 10-year-old Bell-430 which had flown more hours than the mandatory time frame.

The aircraft had not been used for the past four months even after flying 582 hours –– 82 hours more than the mandatory time frame of 500 hours –– after which it should have been overhauled. The report is not sure if it was overhauled or not.

However,  information in this regard was given to YSR only at the airport and when his chief security officer expressed concern over the  issue, he was reportedly overruled by Reddy as he was keen on going ahead with his programme.

The Augusta Westland, which the government bought barely three months earlier, had been sent for servicing and it landed at the airport two hours after YSR took off. The report hints at haste and negligence on the part of officials and suggested that a full scale enquiry could only answer some of the questions raised. One of these is that perhaps Bell 430 and the pilots were not fully equipped with the standard flight operations like maps of contingency flight paths. “If they had the maps, they would have known that there were convenient plain areas, just 2 km from Atamakur/Rudrakonda (where the copter crashed), for an emergency landing,” the report said.

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