Congress President Rahul Gandhi was on his way to Hubbali from New Delhi on Thursday when his aircraft allegedly suffered 'unexplained technical failures', causing it to land roughly.
Following the incident, the Indian National Congress has filed a police complaint stating that the mishap put the life of Rahul and others on board in danger.
In the complaint to the Karnataka police chief Neelamani Raju, the party said that several "unexplained technical errors" occurred as the flight was on course from Delhi to Hubbali.
The complaint said that the plane "shuddered violently, tilted to one side, dipped in altitude steeply and made cranking noises throughout". Even the autopilot system was not functioning, the complaint added.
An FIR has reportedly been registered at the Gokul Police Station in Hubbali and the complaint is likely to be forwarded to the Director General of Civil Aviation. The FIR has been registered under Section 11 of the Aircraft Act of 1934 for penalty for flying so as to cause danger. It is being reported that the pilot will be called in for questioning.
It was snag of autopilot mode & pilot shifted to manual & landed safely.Such autopilot incidents are not uncommon.For any VIP flight, DGCA examines in detail.We shall do here also:DGCA on special flight New Delhi-Hubli,with Rahul Gandhi experiencing unexplained technical failures
— ANI (@ANI) April 26, 2018
Times Now reported that the Prime Minister’s office had contacted Rahul over the matter.
In the letter to the DG and IG of Karnataka, Rahul Gandhi's close aide Kaushal K Vidyarthee, who was with him on the aircraft, alleged that unexplained technical failures occurred during the course of the flight.
According to the letter, Rahul Gandhi was travelling along with his aides Rampreet, Rahul Ravi and Rahul Gautam.
He stated, "The flight took off from Delhi at tentatively around 9:20 am and was scheduled to arrive in Hubbali at around 11:45 am." "...however, during the course of the flight, following unexplained technical failures occurred," the letter mentioned.
The letter states that "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. It is to be stated that the weather outside was sunny, normal and not windy as per the observation of the passengers and as per the forecast for the day. A clanking noise was clearly audible from one side of the plane throughput the shuddering of the aircraft body. It was also learnt that the autopilot of the aircraft was not functioning. An attempt was made to land the aircraft at Hubli three times and it finally landed on the third attempt."
Vidyarthee further states in his complaint, "The plane landed at Hubli around 11: 25 am while continuously shaking and making unusual audible sounds..the while flight experience left the passengers with a lot of anxiety and distress, and positively fearing for their lives. The crew was also apparently petrified and admitted that the flight was particularly frightening and uncommon."
Vidyarthee also states that what happened with aircraft was suspicious. In his letter, he further writes, "..it was apparent from the suspicious and faulty performance of the aircraft that the incidents of shuddering and altitude dipping we're not natural or weather-related, but were due to some technical snags of the aircraft. Serious questions related to intentional tampering with the aircraft cannot also be brushed aside and are required to be addressed and investigated."
"..the multiple unexplained technical snags during the flight coupled with the failure of the auto pilot system, raises serious issues of aviation safety and possible and intentional tampering with the aircraft which endangered the life of its occupants. A thorough examination of the structural and mechanical elements of the aircraft, surrounding circumstances of the flight and the persons attached with the maintenance of the aircraft is required in order assess the incident."(sic)
Rahul Gandhi is an SPG protectee and this was a chartered flight, VT- AVH, belonging to Religare Aviation limited.