Blaming the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the serious injury that he sustained in a MiG-21 crash in 2005,an IAF officer,Wing Commander Sanjeet Singh Kaila,has moved the Delhi High Court seeking an apology and compensation from them.
Based on replies to RTI applications from MoD,Kaila said a fatigue crack in the welded portion of the after burner manifold led to fire in the aircraft. The accident cause has been attributed to a manufacturing defect and poor workmanship. The pilot was grounded due to his spinal injuries and now works as an instructor.
An HC Bench had on May 22 issued notices to MoD and the HAL. On Tuesday it allowed them to submit their replies in six weeks. It has also directed the government to produce all records,including the court of inquiry proceedings.
Kaila has pleaded the HC to direct MoD and the HAL to issue a formal apology. The plea states that the apology is being sought to ensure that HAL is made accountable and aware of the ramifications of their actions impacting the security of this country. Kaila has sought redressal against the right to work in a safe environment enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution.
Kaila could not eject from the aircraft as he had to steer the plane away from a populated village to an open field. The officer was on a routine sortie from the Nal Air Base in Rajasthan in January 2005 when the aircraft engine caught fire.