The office of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has cleared former BJD MP Baijayant Panda of all charges regarding violation of aviation rules during a helicopter ride last month. In a letter to the Bhubaneswar Airport Director, the DGCA stated, “There was no violation observed of DGCA rules and regulations.”
The letter further said that an investigation concluded that “it could not be established that the helicopter has flown dangerously below the assigned altitude or has landed at Chilika lake”.
Reacting to the development, Panda tweeted, “Satyameva Jayate. Total clean chit by DGCA on Odisha Govt’s cooked up case against me & my helicopter flying, & sealing a hangar at Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar for the past 1.5 months, immobilising 3 choppers (incl 2 against which thr were no allegations whatsoever)! Puri Police has said it is studying the DGCA report.”
Total clean chit by DGCA on Odisha Govt's cooked up case against me & my helicopter flying, & sealing a hangar at Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar for the past 1.5 months, immobilising 3 choppers (incl 2 against which thr were no allegations whatsoever)! pic.twitter.com/w6jsUJ6m3T
— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) October 26, 2018
In September, a helicopter in which the former MP was flying was seized by the police for its alleged attempt to land it on Odisha’s Chilika lake. Panda, who quit the BJD in May after a long-drawn feud, had called the seizure a “brazen attempt to handicap his movement”.
The helicopter was seized after an FIR was registered against the alleged attempt of an unauthorised aircraft to land on Chilika Lake, when Panda was riding a chopper across a stretch of coastal Odisha up to Konark. Following the complaint, the police sealed the hangar where the R-44 helicopter, operated by Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys Ltd (IMFA) and frequently used by Panda, was kept. The police also wrote to the DGCA requesting a probe into the allegations.
The FIR said the helicopter attempted to land on Chilika, which is a “no-flying eco-sensitive zone”.
Days later, an FIR was registered against Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and four senior BJD leaders for allegedly flying over the lake.