Union minister of state for home affairs Gurudas Kamat was to travel last month in the same Border Security Force (BSF) helicopter that crashed in Rajasthan on Friday, killing four people.
Kamat had flown to Jaisalmer from Delhi on a chartered plane on April 4 and was supposed to survey border areas on the Chetak chopper, BSF officials told Hindustan Times.
“However, the single-engine helicopter developed a technical snag. A second helicopter was also out of order, forcing the minister to opt for a road route to survey the areas,” said an official on condition of anonymity. “He then flew to Jodhpur on his chartered plane,” the official added.
However, RC Dhyani, deputy inspector general of police, BSF, denied any knowledge of a helicopter breakdown during Kamat’s visit.
The rising number of snags in helicopters points to poor maintenance by the BSF. A helicopter at the Jodhpur base has been out of order, due to which air patrolling on the border areas has been held up for more than six months, officials said.
Similarly, two Mi-17 helicopters deployed to ferry defence minister AK Antony, army chief VK Singh and defence secretary Pradeep Kumar to Jaisalmer had also developed technical snags on May 2.
Antony and his entourage had to travel 125 km by road on their way back to Jaisalmer from Tanot area.
“The helicopters developed rotor and power-pack problems when they were about to take off,” said an IAF officer.