Top DGCA official relieved of duties

New Delhi: As a crackdown began to corner those involved in getting pilots` licences by fudging records, a top officer of aviation regulator DGCA was relieved of his duties following charges that he had influenced an airline to employ his daughter who had failed a pilot test.

Apart from DGCA`s Director (Air Safety) R S Passi was stripped off his responsibilities following the allegations, there are at least nine more middle and senior level staffers who have been issued show-cause notices.

They have been asked to explain how their close relatives had received pilot licences, highly-placed sources in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said, adding that all these people would be subjected to scrutiny.

So far, three DGCA staffers have been arrested in connection with the fake licence cases.

Passi has not been suspended or sacked, but has been taken off duties with immediate effect, they said.

"He is no longer dealing with air safety matters.

Passi has been removed from his position in the air safety directorate," a source said.

The action came after the case of his daughter, Garima, came to light. As per investigations being carried out by the crime branch of the Delhi Police, Garima had not cleared a flight test in the US but was working in an Indian carrier as its pilot. She had quit the airline last month.

After going through the documents of over 4,000 licences, the DGCA has lodged 13 First Information Reports with Delhi Police`s Crime Branch.

While six of them relate to Airline Transport Pilots Licences (ATPLs), seven FIRs concern records of Commercial Pilot Licences (CPLs).

There are about 4,000 ATPLs, while about 10,000 CPLs have been issued till date.

Three DGCA teams are currently auditing at least 40 flying schools across the country and the government has already warned that those institutes found fudging records to grant pilots` licences could be closed down immediately.