Was it an error committed by the pilot or did the GPS or the homing instrument of the chopper Union Minister for Minority Welfare Salman Khursheed was flying in, temporarily develop a snag on Sunday?
Though the answer to it is a subject of scrutiny, especially with the Air Traffic Control of the Jayaprakash Narayan International Airport in Patna maintaining a stony silence and the chopper pilot parrying the question, the fact remains that Khursheed was delayed in addressing an election meeting at Simri Bakhtiyarpur in Begusarai district, some 130 kms from Patna, after his chopper, in its first attempt, could not land at the designated location.
Incidentally, the site where Khursheed's chopper initially landed was earmarked for Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad. Khursheed's venue was 2-3 kms to the east of Lalu's. Campaigning for Bihar Assembly by-elections ended on Sunday.
Later, talking to newspersons at the airport, Khursheed said: "There were two points of landing at Simri Bakhtiyarpur. It is the pilots who decide where to land depending on the longitude and latitude plotted on a map (called the Jephson's chart in aviation parlance). It's a technical thing… When I was told that the location where we had landed was not meant for us, but for the RJD, we decided to leave."
One of the two chopper pilots the Hindustan Times spoke to, while requesting anonymity, said: "The location where we landed in Simri Bakhtiyarpur was 2-3 kms to the west and the helipad was demarcated for Lalu Prasad."
The pilot, however, refused to spell the reason why the lapse took place.
Khursheed's chopper, registration number VT-AZY, belonged to the Global Victra, a Mumbai-based company.