Nearly two weeks after a tragic plane crash in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar claimed the lives of five people, the family of the deceased co-pilot Captain Marya Zuberi is seeking legal action in the case. Capt Marya Zuberi’s husband, Prabhat Kathuria, filed a complaint against the company that owned the aircraft and officials of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
"I have been waiting but no policeman has visited me and there has been no information from any investigating agency about what has happened. So, the only thing that I could do is complain to the police to register an FIR. If they don’t register, I’ll go to the court." - Prabhat Kathuria, husband of the deceased pilot Captain Marya Zuberi
While the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) is likely to release its preliminary investigation report soon, followed by a detailed report, Zuberi’s family is demanding an independent judicial investigation into the incident.
"We want to know what happened. This won’t bring back Marya but our main concern is that no more people lose their lives because of a company looking to make profits or not doing their job of making repairs. We are only raising questions so that whoever is responsible or innocent comes out." - Shabnam Hashmi, Zuberi’s aunt
Kathuria added that he was approached to settle the matter outside of court, but he refused to comply.
"There have been no condolence offerings by the company. They did not come to the burial ground, hospital or mortuary. They might be wanting us to settle but that isn’t going to happen." - Prabhat Kathuria
Zuberi’s family held a prayer meet on Tuesday, 10 July, which was attended by officials from UY Aviation, the company that had purchased the aircraft in August 2016.
"We gathered today to pay our respects and condolences to our late colleagues and to stand by the families at this time of deep personal loss. The AAIB is currently investigating the matter and it would be inappropriate and premature to elaborate or speculate at this time. " - Prakash Mirpuri, Spokesperson of UY Aviation Pvt. Ltd.
Families of the crash victims have been questioning Indamer Aviation and UY Aviation on their decision to conduct a test flight despite the rough weather on 28 June, when the King Air C 90 aircraft crashed into the compound of an under-construction building. The crash killed two pilots and two engineers on board and a pedestrian.
In his complaint to the police, Kathuria recounts his wife telling him about the weather being unfit for flying on the morning of the crash.
“On the day of the crash, my wife, Capt. Zuberi, told me, as she left the house, that she believed the weather conditions were not fit for flying and that the test flight shall be cancelled once again. Therefore, while leaving for work, she had informed me that she can be expected to return home early owing to bad weather conditions. However, the test flight was neither cancelled by DGCA officials nor by UY Aviation and Indamer Aviation.”
Kathuria also alleges that UY Aviation has violated safety norms in the past.
“My wife, in her short service with UY Aviation, had told me on many occasions that Mr Anil Chauhan, in particular, and other personnel at UY Aviation used to pressurise their engineers and pilots to hasten the process of getting approval for the flight by disregarding the prescribed test procedure.”
A former engineer at Indamer Aviation had made similar allegations about the company while speaking to The Quint earlier.
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