The six air force personnel on an aborted mission to evacuate injured security personnel left behind a bleeding Chhattisgarh wireless operator in the heart of Maoist-controlled territory for his own good, the Indian Air Force (IAF) indicated on Saturday evening.
By the time CRPF commandos were able to reach the wireless operator holed up in the damaged helicopter four hours later on Friday night, he was disoriented, scared and bleeding.
MC Sahu was evacuated by the CRPF on early Saturday morning and flown to Raipur. Police said he was still fighting for his life, was in a critical condition and had been operated upon once.
The Air Force said they had ordered an inquiry into the entire incident. But it was pointed out that the policeman was too injured to be moved anywhere.
The helicopter had taken multiple hits from Maoist ground fire when it was trying to land to evacuate two policemen, severely damaging the fuel and hydraulic oil tank and injuring a police radio operator, Sahu. It was able to land safely.
“The complete crew assessed the threat situation and condition of the injured CRPF jawan (he was a Chhattisgarh policeman) and decided to seek immediate medical help for injured jawan who was immobilised,” an IAF spokesperson said in Delhi.
The spokesperson said the IAF crew helped direct the CRPF team to the chopper and the policeman.
Security sources said the IAF crew too did get the location wrong the first time but expressed disappointment at the wounded policeman being left behind.
“It is difficult to interpret anything now under what circumstances the IAF crew left the radio operator and chopper behind,” Chhattisgarh director general of police Ramniwas said.