The Ministry of Civil Aviation informed the Bombay High Court Thursday that it was conducting a thorough probe into the plane crash in Mumbai’s Ghatkopar area in June this year and there was no need for transferring the investigation to the CBI or any other independent agency.
In an affidavit filed through the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB), the ministry informed the court that it had also taken custody from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of files relating to the said aircraft and its crew.
There was no chance of any compromise in the probe or tampering of evidence, it said.
The affidavit was filed this morning before a bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre in compliance with a previous order of the court.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by activist Yeshwant Shenoy, who had sought that either a special court of inquiry be initiated into the incident, or the probe be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
On June 29, a private chartered plane crashed in the city’s Ghatkopar area. All occupants on board, including two pilots and as many maintenance engineers, along with a passerby died in the mishap.
In its affidavit, the AAIB told the bench that there was no need for transferring the probe to any other agency. “The AAIB has senior ranking officials with adequate expertise and training. It has all powers to carry out an investigation and summon individuals irrespective of their ranks,” the affidavit said.
“The person in-charge of the probe is an aeronautical engineer and has vast field experience in aviation, both in the industry and the regulatory environment,” it said.
The AAIB further told the bench that a court of inquiry was set up only in “very rare circumstances”.
It was done last time in 2010 to probe the Air IndiaExpress Flight crash at Mangaluru airport in which 158 people lost their lives. It also submitted that since its inception in 2011, the AAIB had conducted probe into 98 instances of aircraft accidents.
“The AAIB has submitted 71 probe reports so far and given recommendations as required against even the DGCA, Airports Authority of India (AAI), and various airline operators and agencies, whenever lapses have been recorded.
“The aircraft owners may be rich and powerful people but this has in no way proven to be hindrance for the AAIB in conducting a fair probe,” the affidavit said. The bench is likely to conduct further hearing in the matter after four weeks.