A parliamentary committee has come down heavily on the Indian Air Force for the unauthorised use of VIP aircraft by armed forces officers and their spouses. It has also sought a detailed statement from the IAF of the expenses incurred in flying non-entitled passengers,including presidents of the Army and Air Force wives welfare associations,over the past decade and directed the Defence Ministry to conduct a probe into the misuse.
The panel has also expressed concerns for diverting eight An 32 aircraft for VIP travel without the approval of the government. This was done despite the presence of a specialised communications squadron for the transport of VIP comprising two Boeing 737s,four Emraer jets and seven Avro aircraft,the panel has noted.
While Armed forces personnel are allowed to use the aircraft,the panel has expressed its shock that the modified An 32 VIP aircraft were also used by the office-bearers of armed forces wives welfare associations resulting in an expenditure of Rs 75 crore over a period of five years.
In its reply to the government on the misuse of aircraft,the Ministry has stated that commanders along with their wives were authorised to travel by service aircraft on inspection tours. It has,however,remained silent on the use of VIP aircraft by the office-bearers of the army wives welfare association. Taking note that the Ministry had been conspicuously silent in this regard,the panel has asked it to investigate the matter and submit a report in three months.