9 years after chopper crash, Govt launches `formal inquiry’
Jammu, Sep 14: At least nine years after the incident, Jammu and Kashmir Government Friday constituted a high-powered committee to probe the crash of a state owned helicopter which led to the killing of pilot Group Captain J S Kehlon and four Amarnath pilgrims in August 2003 near Ganderbal.
Official sources revealed that the enquiry committee has been constituted following the observations made by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and by the Director General Civil Aviation in their preliminary probe.
The crash took place on August 5, 2003, killing pilot Group Captain J S Kehlon and four Amarnath pilgrims. The state-owned Bell 407 helicopter was completely damaged in the crash. Kehlon was also the Civil Aviation Commissioner of the state government.
As per the government order the “formal enquiry” will cover all aspects of the crash including the allegations of “misappropriation of funds and gross violation of rules, which led to the loss of crores of rupees to the state exchequer.”
The Committee will be headed by Commissioner/Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Department and comprise of Secretary GAD Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmed, Director General Accounts and Treasuries, Ravi Magotra and Special Secretary to Chief Minister Sufi Muhammad Yousuf.
The Committee has been asked to submit a detailed report within 90 days.
It has been asked to specifically examine as whether the decision regarding operation of Helicopter Services to Amarnath Yatra taken in the meeting chaired by the then Chief Minister on July 22, 2003 was respected and whether the sale proceeds of air tickets were accounted for and not misappropriated and what action has been taken against the erring officers.
Observing that the copter service was started in “gross misuse of powers” and against the set norms, the State Consumer Protection Commission in September last year awarded a compensation of Rs 2.35 Crore to the family of the deceased couple killed in the crash.
The Commission directed the state Chief Secretary to constitute a Committee of experts to enquire into the crash and submit a report within four months. It also asked the committee to submit recommendations for taking suitable legal action against the delinquent functionaries within the "four corners of law".
"As some of the delinquent functionaries are responsible for this crash and after their identification in the enquiry, the state government is authorized to recover the amount of the award from their pay or pension, as the case may be," it had observed.
* Crash took place on August 5, 2003, killing pilot Group Captain J S Kehlon and four Amarnath pilgrims, including a couple.The state-owned Bell 407 helicopter was completely damaged in the crash.
* State Consumer Protection Commission awarded Rs 2.35 crore compensation to the minor children of a deceased couple, killed in the crash.
* A Tour and Travels agency was found to have been engaged unauthorisedly as the booking agent for the chopper sorties by the deceased pilot in his capacity as the Civil Aviation Commissioner.
* The sale proceeds of air tickets were allegedly not accounted for and misappropriated
* Govt was asked to constitute enquiry committee to identity erring officers.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 14 Sep 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 15 Sep 2012 00:00:00 IST
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