Chopper row: Former Odisha MP Baijayant Panda gets clean chit from DGCA

Bhubaneswar: Probing into the allegations against former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda of flying a helicopter ‘dangerously’ over Chilika lagoon, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has given ‘clean chit’ to him.

“The investigation concluded that there was no violation observed of DGCA and regulation,” read a letter sent by the DGCA to the Director of Bhubaneswar airport.

“Based on fact and evidences, it could not be established that the helicopter has flown dangerously below the assigned altitude or have landed at Chilika lake,” the letter added.

It has been mentioned in the letter that the chopper flew from Bhubaneswar airport over Rajhans-Puri-Konark and landed at Garadpur in Kendrapara.

Panda was earlier accused of hovering the chopper over the ‘eco-sensitive zone’ of Chilika lagoon on September 15.

Puri police had on September 17 seized the chopper over the allegations. The action was taken on the basis of a complaint lodged by Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), Chilika Development Authority (CDA), Binod Acharya with the Marine Police Station at Arakhakuda in Puri.

The forest official had alleged that a low-flying white helicopter hovered over Arakhakuda within the restricted area of the lagoon and attempted to land there at around 1.30 pm.

However, Panda had refuted the charges levelled against him saying that he flew over Rajhans-Puri-Konark and landed at Kendrapara at 10.28 am and later flew from Kendrapara at 12.50 pm and landed at Bhubaneswar at 1.30 pm, not at Chilika.

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