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Govt to hold detailed probe into Rahul plane snag incident: Prabhu


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The government today ordered a detailed inquiry into the plane incident involving Congress President Rahul Gandhi and said appropriate action would be taken in case anything was "found wanting".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi telephoned Gandhi just before leaving for China yesterday to enquire about his safety after an aircraft with the Congress leader on board developed a snag before landing at the Hubballi airport in poll-bound Karnataka, a senior party leader said.
Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said, "As soon as I heard about this issue, I directed the DGCA to conduct a detailed inquiry and to find out the cause of it.
"If there is anything found wanting and whoever is responsible for it, we will take appropriate action,"he said.
Aviation regulator DGCA has set up a two-member committee to probe the technical snag in the chartered plane.
Congress communications in-charge Randeep Surjewala described the failure of the auto-pilot mode in the aircraft as "horrific" and "serious" and demanded a probe to find out if there was any "foul play".
AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot termed the incident as "shocking" and "worrisome" and urged the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to investigate the matter thoroughly.
"It is a very serious incident for us, but only time will tell if the complaint is taken seriously by the government as well," he told PTI.
Surjewala said a complaint was submitted to the director general of police in Karnataka, urging him to look into all aspects of the "serious, horrific incident", including foul play, if any.
He said that an aircraft carrying a Special Protection Group (SPG) protectee developing such a snag was unprecedented.
During the incident, the Congress chief had maintained his composure and even tried to calm the co-passengers down, Surjewala said.
Another complaint was filed with the DGCA, demanding a thorough inquiry into the incident, he added.
"The operator has reported the incident to us. According to the report, it was a snag in the auto-pilot mode. The pilot shifted to the manual (mode) and (the aircraft) landed safely," a senior DGCA official said.
"Shutdown of the auto-pilot (mode) is not uncommon. For a VIP flight, the DGCA examines it thoroughly. We shall do that in this case as well," the official told PTI.
The Congress has demanded a probe into the "suspicious and faulty performance" of the aircraft before it landed at the Hubballi airport.
The state police has said they have registered a complaint in this regard.
The plane had suddenly tilted heavily on the left side and its altitude had dipped steeply with a violent shudder at 10.45 AM, Kaushal Vidyarthi, a close aide of Gandhi, told Karnataka DGP Neelmani N Raju in a letter.

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First Published: Apr 27 2018 | 9:20 PM IST

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