Srinagar, May 21: The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday removed the senior most officer of the Srinagar Airbase in connection with the Mi17 chopper crash in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam on February 27. The Air Commanding Officer (AOC) is removed even as a Court-of-Inquiry (CoI) continues to investigate the matter. Meanwhile, the final report is yet to be submitted. Indian Missile May Have Mistakenly Hit IAF Mi-17 Chopper in Budgam Following Air Space Violation by Pakistani Fighter Jets on February 27: Report.
The IAF is considering whether or not it should slap criminal charges against those found lacking, reported Hindustan Times. An initial investigation into the accident allegedly indicated that there were several lapses which lead to the crash. That day, instead of calling the helicopter back to the base when the Indian and Pakistani fighters jets were engaged in aerial combat, the chopper should have been sent to a safer zone, a senior defence official told the media house. IAF Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, Martyred in Budgam Crash, Laid To Rest With Full Military Honours; Wife Asks People to ‘Better Act Than Chanting Slogans’.
According to the report, the Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) was switched off when the accident took place. In March, reports surfaced that an Indian air defence missile was fired just moments before the chopper crashed near Srinagar.
On February 27, Mi17 V5 chopper was crashed. In the crash, six IAF personnel – Wing Commander Sidharth Sharma, Squadron Leader Ninad Mandavgane, Sergeant Vikrant Sherawat, Corporal Deepak Pandey, Corporal Pankaj Kumar and engineer Vishal Kumar Pandey were killed. A civilian also lost his life in the incident. The 20-year-old Kifayat Hussain, was caught in the explosion after the crashed helicopter landed in fields in Budgam. The accident occurred at 10:10 am.