With no visible action from the aviation safety regulator on a complaint over allowing three tainted pilots to function as examiners, a government-appointed air safety panel on Friday approached the Central Vigilance Commissioner’s (CVC) office demanding an independent probe.
Last week the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council (Casac), a body set up soon after the Air India Express crash at Mangalore in 2010, had raised objection over the inclusion of three pilots in the country’s examiner rank pilots’ list citing their involvement in serious offences compromising passenger safety.
“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has failed to take action despite irrefutable proof against the pilots. Therefore we decided to approach the CVC directly,” said Captain Mohan Ranganathan, member Casac.
According to Casac’s complaint, which has been reviewed by Hindustan Times, the list of examiners comprised Captain HS Malhotra from Alliance Air, charged by the Central Bureau of Investigation in a question paper leak scam last April. It also included Captain PP Singh, a senior pilot with Jet Airways caught for fudging training records and Captain SB Contractor, also a Jet Airways pilot, who was benched for approving Singh’s false records.
An examiner rank pilot is among the senior-most pilots of an airline, in charge of maintaining the safety procedures mandated by the aviation regulator.
The Casac claimed that the Indian Aircraft rules has provision to cancel the license of pilots caught with such serious offences. They were instead let off with nominal punishment and their seniority was restored.
The body will also report the matter to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the global policy maker of air safety.
The issue has come to light at a time when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is already under pressure from its US counterpart to get safety procedures in place. Last month, the Federal Aviation Administr-ation had warned the DGCA to review pilot training procedures after a four pilots were caught faking simulator entries.
DGCA chief Arun Mishra and civil aviation minister Ajit Singh were not available for comment.