The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), investigating the crash of a private aircraft in Ghatkopar on June 28, told the Bombay High Court on Thursday that the “rich and powerful” owners of the aviation company have, in no way, been a hindrance to the working of AAIB so far.
The court was hearing a petition filed by activist Yeshwant Shenoy, seeking a special court of inquiry or transfer of investigation to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incident.
A nine-seater aircraft crashed at a construction site in Ghatkopar on June 28, killing four on board, including the pilot, co-pilot and two aircraft maintenance personnel. A fifth person, a pedestrian at the site of the crash, also died when the Beechcraft King C90, owned by Mumbai-based UY Aviation Pvt Ltd, crashed into the pillars and tin sheet-fence of an under-construction building in the area.
An affidavit filed by K Ramachandran, assistant director of AAIB, said the central government had formed the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau, which is a specialised agency responsible for carrying out the investigation of aircraft accidents and incidents in Indian airspace. The AAIB has set up an investigation into the accident. “The aircraft owners may be rich and powerful people, but this has in no way proved to be a hindrance to the working of AAIB so far. The AAIB has sufficient resources and powers to mobilise its officers to carry out an investigation in a free and fair manner,” the affidavit said.
The affidavit states, “There is no need to set up a court of inquiry to investigate this accident. This was last done for the Air India Express VT-AXV crash on 22.5.10 at Mangalore where 158 people lost their lives. The court of inquiry, if required, is setup immediately after major catastrophic accidents and is done rarely. Changeover from one investigation to other will only cause investigation to get delayed and loose track.”