IAC Breaking News : Truth Behind The Fraud Pilots Of Jaipur
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Truth Behind The Fraud Pilots Of Jaipur ....
Rahul Yadav, a pilot with Indian Airlines who claims he has 1,000 flying hours with the country's official carrier, made the worst landing of his life on October 9. The 25-year-old cruised into jail when he was held by the Rajasthan Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on charges of getting a commercial pilot's licence (CPL) with forged documents that show him having flown 200 hours when he has actually done only 22.
The Rajasthan state flying school at Sanganer near Jaipur
Yadav, whose father is an official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is only one of 14 rogue pilots. The DGCA gave Yadav his CPL on the basis of documents submitted by the Rajasthan State Flying School at Sanganer near Jaipur. The school, though closed for two years now, is being investigated in 14 cases-India Today has the names-where students were falsely certified to having flown as many as 200 hours on single-engine Cessna 152 aircraft, including cross-country flying from places where the aircraft never landed.
While similar cases have been reported from Haryana's Hisar Flying club, Additional Director General of Police Ajit Singh Shekhawat, who heads the ACB, has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to look into the possibility of a national-level racket. "The fraud has shocked us with the ease with which the lives of passengers have been put at risk," he says. The CBI has since started investigations and the scandal is expected to spread to other states.
Another young aspirant, Nidhi Vashist, became a 'pilot' by allegedly paying Rs 11 lakh. Her logbook displays 169 flying hours from the Jaipur flying school and the remaining from Karnal, Hisar and Patiala. Once she got her CPL, Vashist got a twin-engine flying completion certificate from the Philippines and applied for a licence from the DGCA. The DGCA, however, got suspicious when it found a solo flying entry when it should have been with another pilot. Upon inquiry, the centre denied having issued the certificate. This was last year when the Philippines faced many reports about such frauds, leading to a crackdown by the authorities.
Vashist alleged that Mahendra Kumar Chaudhary, chief flying instructor at the Jaipur school, had got her the twin-engine certificate for money. Vashisht demanded her money back and when Chaudhary refused, she went to the police. Chaudhary then issued two cheques for the entire amount to 'settle the matter', which bounced. Vashist then complained to the ACB. A cross-check with air maintenance garage, air traffic control (ATC), fuel records and logbook entries revealed that she actually flew for just 22 hours for which the fee was deposited. "Surprisingly, we found thatthe chief flying instructor of Hisar, Mahavir Singh Beniwal, had also certified her arrival, which points to a bigger and organised criminal activity," says Shekhawat. An arrest warrant has been issued against Beniwal.
Yadav was accorded a similar fake flight in March 2007. In his case, Chaudhary did not even enrol him for the 22 hours that he possibly actually flew. Yadav later did a 50-hour flying course from Canada, which is being looked into as well. Chaudhary has been identified as the brain behind the fake certification racket in Jaipur with the roles of executive and supervisory officers also being examined. He has been arrested twice and bailed out quickly but faces more cases. There have been instances when the ATC recorded 36 flights taking off but the flying instructor showed 178 for the same period. Chaudhary's counsel Ashu Singh refused to comment.
A certificate of certain hours of flying makes one eligible for enrolling at flying schools abroad. "It is necessary to investigate all flying licences issued in India, including those given on the basis of training in India or abroad," says Shekhawat.
The DGCA's certification system needs to be looked into to ascertain whether it makes regular visits and checks to ensure whether a flying school is adhering to given norms. It is surprising that flying data which is maintained at many places manually is not linked via a computer network, making it easy for it to be altered without being detected.
Investigators suspect several dimensions of fraud involving deliberate maintenance of shoddy records at various levels. Most of the 14 candidates identified so far are currently employed with various government and private airlines. The impunity with which rules were compromised raises serious doubts about the DGCA's supervising system as well as the recruitment procedures most airlines follow. With even co-pilots supposed to play a crucial role, the scam may make flying in India more dangerous than it already is.