Heads have started rolling in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) — the aviation industry regulator at the centre of a scandal involving pilots with fake marksheets obtaining licences to fly.
RS Passi, the second senior-most officer at the Directorate of Air Safety, has been removed from his position. He has not been given any other assignment.
The disciplinary action was taken after SpiceJet wrote to DGCA chief EK Bharat Bhushan that Passi's daughter, Garima Passi, got a job as a pilot with the airline under “extraordinary circumstances”.
Bhushan, who is cracking down on irregularities in the organisation, had asked SpiceJet for a report on Garima, who quit the airline last month.
Aviation experts have lauded the move. “It sends out a clear message that however powerful one might be, if you're guilty, you'll have to pay the price,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, a member of the government-appointed committee on aviation safety.
Garima was expelled from Sabena Flight Academy in Arizona, US, in 2008 and her evaluation report stated that she displayed a "fear of aircraft". She returned to India and joined Amber Aviation (India) Pvt Ltd, a flying school in Uttarakhand, from where she got a pilot's licence.
Show-cause notices have been issued to more than half-a-dozen senior DGCA officials whose children are employed with airlines. HT had first reported on March 17 about Bhushan's directive to officials to furnish information on the “employment of their children”.