THE FATHERS of junior technician Manish Pandey and engineer Surbhi Gupta, who died in the air crash in Ghatkopar last year, filed complaints with the Mumbai Police on Thursday alleging that the deceased were “induced to board the aircraft under deceitful means” by their employer.
This comes three days after Pandey’s widow Sunita Chaturvedi raised similar allegations. She had submitted a complaint at Santacruz police station on Monday, seeking that the management of Indamer Aviation Limited and UY Aviation be booked for abducting and murdering her husband.
Pandey and Gupta were among five persons who were killed when Beechcraft King Air C-90 aircraft VT-UPZ, owned by Mumbai-based U Y Aviation, crashed into an under-construction building in Ghatkopar West in June 2018. A subsequent investigation found that the aircraft, which was undergoing repairs and maintenance by Indamer Aviation, did not have an airworthiness certificate for a test flight issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
Pandey’s father Tej Pratap and Gupta’s father Surya Prakash, who filed their complaints at Santacruz police station, based their allegations on a report filed by the Parliamentary Committee on Labour on December 26, 2018, which had stated that the crew was “induced to board the aircraft under deceitful means” against DGCA norms for test flights.
They also alleged that the plane “had to crash” due to several factors like “adverse weather, wrong crew combination for test flight, aircraft being flown after 10 years, aircraft being serviced unprofessionally, and the operator having secured his financial interest by getting the aircraft insured for Rs 7 crore”. The fathers further claimed that Pandey and Gupta should not have been on board the aircraft for the test flight. They alleged that while Pandey had left his Vasai home for the main hangar of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Kalina, Gupta had return tickets booked for Surat. But both were asked to report to the Juhu Aerodome for the test flight by their employer, Indamer Aviation.
In a statement on Monday, Rajeev Gupta, Managing Director of Indamer Aviation, had rejected the allegations. He had said that while Surbhi Gupta was the head of the team that carried out maintenance work on the aircraft, Manish Pandey was a member of the team.
Shriram Koregoankar, senior inspector of Santacruz police said that a preliminary inquiry was underway into the complaints.