Budgam Mi-17 chopper crash: IAF officer to face criminal case

Updated: May 21, 2019, 13:46 IST | mid-day online desk

Initial inquiries have revealed that the helicopter was downed by a surface-to-air missile of IAF which mistook the aircraft to be hostile

Budgam Mi-17 chopper crash: IAF officer to face criminal case
Representational picture

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Tuesday removed the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Srinagar Air Base, the senior-most officer of the base with relation to the crash of an Mi-17 helicopter near Srinagar on February 27. A final report is yet to be submitted even as Court-of-Inquiry (CoI) continues to investigate the matter. The officer held responsible for the accidental shooting down of a military helicopter at the height of India-Pakistan tension in February will be charged by the Indian Air Force (IAF) for culpable homicide not amounting to murder along with three others, according to reports.

Also Read: IAF pilot who died in crash cremated with military honours

The IAF is yet to officially acknowledge reasons for the Mi-17 helicopter's crash on February 27, the day Pakistan Air Force (PAF) fighter jets attempted to cross the Line of Control (LoC). But reports suggest that it was shot down in a friendly fire by IAF's own air defence missile. The Court of Inquiry into the incident killing all six onboard is yet to be completed.

The IAF maintains that the investigation was still going on but multiple reports indicate that there was a lapse in following the Standard Operating Procedures.

A report said that the officer commanding the Srinagar air base, where the crash took place, has been removed. The officer who was presiding over operations will face charges of culpable homicide, a criminal offence, according to another report.

On February 27, even as Indian and Pakistani jets were engaged in a dogfight in the Nowshera sector, a Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter of IAF crashed in central Kashmir's Budgam, killing six personnel on board the helicopter. Initial inquiries have revealed that the helicopter was downed by a surface-to-air missile of IAF which mistook the aircraft to be hostile.

Also Read: Indian Air Force jet crashes in Budgam

"Culpable homicide not amounting to murder is one of the charges that IAF is contemplating pressing against those found guilty by the CoI," the report said.

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