Action sought against helicopter company over Badal’s security breach

Shimla:Punjab government today demanded an inquiry over a security breach, when an unqualified woman co-pilot was onboard a helicopter chartered to fly Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal that had to make an emergency landing on 30th August.

“It’s a serious breach of security, said Harcharan Bains, media advisor to the chief minister. We have asked Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to conduct an inquiry into the security breach by the private airline for sending an unqualified co-pilot in the helicopter hired for Badal.

Padma, the co-pilot does not even hold a commercial helicopter pilot licence (CHPL),” he claimed.

Bains was here to attend ‘Vichar Baithak’ (brainstorming session) of Punjab’s ruling Shiromani Akali Dal that began Friday.

The state government’s probe revealed that the chartered helicopter that made the emergency landing in Ferozepur district on Aug 30th with Badal on board had the co-pilot’s, who is said to be the pilot’s ‘girlfriend’, travelling in the chopper without being authorized to do so.

“We have also asked the DGCA to take action against the airline operator, as is a case of breach of security and safety of the VVIP. We will not even hesitate to take action against the pilot and the co-pilot if it’s under our government’s purview,” he said.

The Punjab government would also take up the issue with the Civil Aviation Ministry as how the DGCA gave permission to pilot Col Vishnu Rawal on telephone to fly back to Delhi within a few hours of emergency landing. Bains said. “Without ascertaining whether it was a technical snag or human failure, how did DGCA permit the chopper to fly back to Delhi, he questioned? However he ruled out any conspiracy in the incident.

The Punjab government probe said that the chopper had made an emergency landing in fields after hitting a tree in Ferozepur district.

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