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Chopper would not have taken off

india Updated: May 20, 2009 01:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Chopper would not have taken off

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ruled out the sabotage theory that the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group had put forward after pebbles and gravel were found in the filler neck of the gearbox of a Bell-412 helicopter on April 23.

Group head Anil Ambani and his battery of top-notch executives were to fly the next day on the same chopper.

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group in a letter to the chief minister and his juniors on April 24 had stated that business rivals were attempting to kill Ambani and senior officials of Reliance Communications.

“The planned manner in which the pebbles and gravel were put in the filler cap at the height of 10 feet in the gear box and the gear box cap was closed thereafter, clearly shows that some persons, possible business rivals, were attempting to take away the life of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani. This is clearly an attempt to murder,” read the complaint.

But the DGCA in its communiqué to the Mumbai Crime Branch said, “The debris would have been detected by the metal chip detector, triggering the amber cautionary light in the cockpit, necessitating engine shutdown by the pilot”.

Joint Commissioner of Police (crime) Rakesh Maria said, “Sabotage was only a claim mentioned by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Our investigation was focused on what motivated the act.”

Two employees of aircraft maintenance company Air Works India Engineering, Uday Warekar and Palraj Thever, were arrested on May 3 in connection with the alleged sabotage.

Bharat Borge, a senior technician with Air Works, had reportedly found that the filler cap fitted on the combining gearbox at the top of the helicopter was not fitted in the correct position.

Borge reportedly opened the filler cap to fit it properly, and found pebbles and gravel in the neck. He reported the incident to Air Works director Sahu Menon.

The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group claimed that if this had gone unnoticed, it would have led to a tragedy.

On April 28, Borge was found dead on the railway tracks near Vile Parle railway station.

The railway police are probing his death.