The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has cleared the pilots who landed Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s helicopter allegedly in poor visibility conditions in Uttar Pradesh’s Sitapur on Monday.
The DGCA, after grounding the pilots, sought a report from the state government.
The state government report, based on the Sitapur District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar’s version of the incident, stated on Wednesday that the aircraft had violated the norm that a VIP flight must land at least 30 minutes before sunset.
The report said the helicopter landed at 5.27 pm, 13 minutes after sunset.
But according to the DGCA’s preliminary findings, although the helicopter landed at Sitapur around 5.25 pm, the light was satisfactory and visibility was 2 km.
A DGCA official said on condition of anonymity that the pilot in command had no discussion with his passenger or ground personnel.
On Tuesday, Gandhi also denied pressuring the pilot to overlook safety norms. “I am a pilot and am absolutely aware of the dangers of flying in low visibility conditions,” Gandhi said, “I will be the last person to do it.”
Flying norms for VIPs were made stringent after the death of Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S.R. Reddy and four others when their helicopter crashed due to bad weather this September.