Karnataka MP seeks transparent probe into Mirage crash

Bengaluru: BJP’s Rajya Sabha member from Karnataka Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday sought a transparent inquiry into the crash of the upgraded IAF Mirage-2000 fighter in Bengaluru on February 1, resulting in the death of two ace test pilots.

“We need a thorough and transparent inquiry into the crash of an HAL-upgraded IAF Mirage in Bengaluru and the loss of life of its two brave warriors,” said Chandrasekhar in a statement from New Delhi.

Although the lawmaker submitted a request for discussion on the crash in the Upper House, disruption of the proceedings by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) members did not allow the Zero Hour.

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“Though I had submitted a Zero Hour mention on the issue, it could not be taken up due to disruption of the proceedings by the TMC members,” lamented the member in the statement.

The test pilots — Squadron Leader Samir Abrol from Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and Squadron Leader Siddartha Negi from Dehradun in Uttarkhand died from fatal injuries after the fighter crashed while taking off from the military airport on an acceptance sortie after an upgrade by the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The pilots, commissioned in the air force a decade ago, were on deputation as test pilots at the IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) in this tech hub from their respective air bases.

“I appeal to those in the political class who dithered in the modernisation of the IAF combat fleet for over a decade whilst they bought helicopters for VIPs — to not obstruct modernisation to score brownie points,” he said.

“Doing so (politicking) would be to put our brave young aviators at risk unrelated to the enemy or combat mission,” the lawmaker said.

Recalling that many brave air warriors lost their life in similar test flights or regular sorties, Chandrasekhar said the government should fix accountability for the mishaps.

“It is our collective duty to ensure the brave combat aviators fly the latest aircraft and not continue with 35-40-year-old aircraft to fulfil their missions in peace and war for our nation,” the member added.

A joint inquiry by HAL and IAF will be held to ascertain the causes that led to the fatal crash of the ill-fated French fighter on a test flight.


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