The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Friday set up a two-member committee to probe allegations of “intentional tampering” of a special flight ferrying Congress president Rahul Gandhi and four others in Karnataka a day before. The report is likely to be filed within three weeks, it added, reported news agency ANI. The Congress had filed an FIR with the Karnataka Police on Thursday, in which is claimed the autopilot of the aircraft was not functioning.
The DGCA said autopilot failures are not uncommon. The aircraft VT-AVH, was a Dassault Falcon 2000 owned by Religare Aviation Ltd.
Rahul’s aide, Kaushal Vidyarthee, in his complaint to the police, stated: “At around 10:45 am, the aircraft suddenly tilted heavily on the left side and the altitude dipped steeply, combined with violent shuddering of the aircraft body… The weather outside was sunny, normal and not windy… A clanking noise was clearly audible from one side of the plane throughout the shuddering of the aircraft body. It was also learnt that the autopilot of the aircraft was not functioning.”
— Congress (@INCIndia) April 26, 2018
The complainant added that the incident left passengers “with a lot of anxiety and distress and positively fearing for the lives”.
Sources in the DGCA had told The Indian Express on Thursday that the incident would be investigated.
The FIR is filed under Sections 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 336 (endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 11 of the Aircraft Act 1934.