DGCA clean chit to Jay Panda: Puri Police not ready to accept DGCA findings

Bhubaneswar:  It seems that Puri Police is not ready to accept the findings of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which dismissed allegations against former Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda in connection with dangerously flying helicopter over Chilika Lake.

Instead of unsealing the IMFA hangar, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi today stated that more clarification will be sought from the DGCA in connection with the flying altitude.

“We have got the DGCA report on landing of helicopter but we will seek further clarification regarding the altitude of flying. Other than the helicopter in question, we will release rest of the two helicopters in the hangar,” said Sarangi.

IMFA had already sent a letter to the Superintendent of Police of Puri urging immediate unsealing of the hangar to enable maintenance and operation of other two helicopters.

“You will be liable for any future effect of this on the maintenance costs and safety of these helicopters,” the letter mentioned.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have alleged that the government is resorting to such tactics only to harass Jay Panda.

“After getting DGCA clearance, no action is being taken which clearly shows that the government is acting to settle political scores,” said Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik.

Former Police DG Bipin Bihari Mishra on the other hand stated that the case needs to be dropped at the earliest if the FIR had only mentioned regarding the helicopter flying at a much lower altitude or without necessary permissions.

“It seems that police did not have any information regarding the helicopter against which allegations were levelled for which two more choppers were also sealed at the hangar. Now after DGCA report, police should unseal the hangar,” said Mishra.

When contacted, senior BJD leader Surya Narayan Patro said “Law will take its own course in the matter.”

In a letter to the director of Bhubaneswar airport, the DGCA mentioned that there was no violation of rules and regulations. After conducting a detailed investigation into the incident, DGCA clarified that there was no deviation in the filed flight plan timings and actual timings.

“Based on fact and evidence, it could not be established that the helicopter has flown dangerously below the assigned altitude or have landed at Chilika Lake on September 15, 2018,” the DGCA letter read.

Responding to the DGCA report, Bhubaneswar airport director Suresh Chandra Hota today said “Already the DGCA report has been submitted to police. Airport authorities have nothing to do as everything now depends on the police.”