Kedarnath Mishap: Directorate General of Civil Aviation and Private Charter Companies

The Chpper mishap at Kedarnath Dham last Tuesday once again exposes the negligence due to the nexus of the DGCA, Government of India and private air charter companies.

As per the reports, Captain Anil Singh who was flying this chopper as the pilot, had no experience of flying in the mountain areas. He started flying helicopters in the mountain areas with this private company in September 2022 itself. The question arises whether the pilot who has flown the helicopter in the coastal areas for the last 15 years, was suddenly fully trained to fly in the mountainous areas? Was Aryan Aviation, a private charter service company in Kedarnath, putting the lives of passengers at risk by ignoring the rules in the greed of profits?

It is not unusual and seen every day that whenever there is a plane mishap or any goof-up is done by the employee of any airline, DGCA investigates it and punishes the culprits. But there are many such cases where the persons who commit blunders, are given soft punishment by DGCA only just for sake of doing the formality, no matter who it is – a reputed commercial airline, civil aviation department of a state or a private charter air service company. If the DGCA officials have made up their mind, even the biggest mistakes are overlooked. Sometimes the DGCA officials even try to hide their mistake, by blaming it on some innocent individual with punishment or they just sometimes also tell the mistake is on the part of the weather.

On one hand, every time when the guilty of a big mistake has to be saved from punishment due to some special reason, even then the corrupt officials of the DGCA do not lag behind. Then whether it is ‘Aryan Aviation’ or any other private airline, corrupt officials of the DGCA leave no stone un-turned to save the guilty. One such example is that of another private charter company ‘AR Airways’, one of whose pilots by flouting all the rules and laws, got the minimum punishment fixed for himself and also made sure that his biggest mistake was also fixed. be ignored. Since this private charter service continues to provide its service to the big leaders and influential people of the country, it is alleged that it keeps on twisting every kind of action against it in its own way.

The pilot of this private airline, Captain HS Virdi, has repeatedly broken the rules and regulations and has proved that no matter what he does, no one can remove him from his post. A written complaint was sent to DGCA against Captain Virdi for all serious negligence ranging from violation of BA test (pilot intoxication test). After investigation, he and his license were suspended for only 3 months on 17 February 2022. Whereas for less serious mistakes than this, the DGCA officials give the harshest punishment to the employees of the airline. Why such double standards? Delhi’s Kalachakra News Bureau, in a written complaint to the DGCA, also gave 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. It is not that the higher officials of DGCA were not aware of this. But due to mysterious reasons they were forced to ignore this grave mistake.

Not only this, there is more to it. When the DGCA officials came to realize this, for the first time in the history of the DGCA, the date of suspension of Captain Virdi was changed. The complaint alleges that the date of suspension of Captain Virdi was changed from February 17, 2022 to March 4, 2022, from February 17, 2022, by the DGCA officials. This was done so that the PPC check done by the student illegally is considered valid. This decision clearly shows the extent to which corruption has spread in the DGCA. Therefore, if any pilot’s mistake is covered up and he is allowed to fly illegally, then accidents like Kedarnath will be repeated in future.

Significantly on 28 May 2022, another letter was written against this act of DGCA in which Civil Aviation Minister, Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Civil Aviation Secretary, Vigilance Officer of Ministry of Civil Aviation and Central Vigilance Commission of the DGCA officials made this mistake. Requested to check.

According to sources, the current Director General and some of his select officers leave the culprits after warning the culprits by calling the biggest negligence in the DGCA as a minor mistake. According to statistics, accidents have also increased due to such negligence. Accidents whether by employees of a private airline, by a private charter company, in a training center or by the civil aviation department of a state government, only if those cases catch on, the culprits get severe punishment. Otherwise such incidents are usually hidden.

Keeping the point of view of the VVIP and public safety, the immediate  need is that the Vigilance Department of the Ministry of Civil Aviation should gear up and investigate the old complaints pending in the DGCA to see which officer went wrong. Such reasons should also be investigated as to why the DGCA officials did not punish the guilty as per the rules and adopt double standards for the same type of mistake.