Corruption in DGCA: No action against pilot despite repeated mistakes

As per the procedure, whenever there is a plane accident or any mistake is done by the employee of an airline, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Government of India investigates it and punishes the responsible. However, there are some cases where a person allegedly committing a  blunder does not receive a proper punishment by DGCA.

Such cases shows the insincere approach of the DGCA which encourages employees to be more careless. There are also allegations wherein the DGCA officials do  hide their mistake by blaming it on an innocent person with a stringent punishment.

The latest example belongs to a pilot getting minimum punishment after allegedly flouting  many rules and regulations of the DGCA. As per the allegations, the pilot having good connections in the ministry and high level influential people, is capable enough to turn things as per his own desires.

Captain HS Virdi is the one mentioned above  has allegedly been breaking the rules and regulations of the DGCA constantly. Nevertheless, no strict action is taken against him.

As per the allegation, a written complaint against Captain Virdi in the DGCA about  several violations of the BA test (pilot intoxication test) which are considered as a grave negligence.

After the investigation, he and his license were suspended for only 3 months on 17 February 2022. On the other hand many cases are there where less serious mistakes have been punished harshly in the department of the airline.

This double standard shows the prevalent corruption in the DGCA. A Delhi-based journalist Rajneesh Kapoor in his complaint has also given evidence that Captain Virdi got his PPC checked on March 3, 2022, during the suspension period due to his influence. It is illegal to do so during the suspension period.

Not only this, the date of the Captain Virdi’s suspension has also been changed which is a unique such action in the history of DGCA. As per the complainant the date of suspension of Captain Virdi was changed from 17 February 2022 to 4 March 2022 by the officials of DGCA seemingly in a well thought out conspiracy.

Complainant Rajneesh Kapoor wrote a letter against this decision on 28 May 2022 to the Minister of Civil Aviation, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Secretary of Civil Aviation, Vigilance Officer of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Central Vigilance Commission demanding  investigation over this ‘mistake’ of the authority.

Recently another case of Virdi came to light which was brought to the notice of DGCA. This case is of 15 August 2021 where Virdi also violated the BA test on the aircraft of the country’s famous steel industrialist. Before this flight Capt. HS Virdi recorded his BA test information without the presence of any medical staff which is a clear violation of DGCA Regulations. This was revealed when DGCA officials conducted an audit.

Another thing came to the fore in this audit. Captain Virdi, as an examiner, had to check the route of a pilot on the same industrialist’s plane. That route check was seen only on paper. Since Virdi had not traveled on that plane, the name of Captain Virdi was not there in the passenger manifest of the plane. It is pertinent to mention that as per the revelation of the audit – Virdi had submitted the manifest in his name with the help of forged documents.

It is a matter of concern that the current Director General and some of his select officers leave the guilty in the DGCA with just a warning against the severe negligence considering it a minor mistake.