‘Seaplane’ lands on Chilika lake: Police seize Baijayant Panda’s helicopter

Bhubaneswar:  Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda landed in trouble as the Odisha police today seized his personal helicopter on charges of making an undeclared landing on the Chilika lake on Saturday, creating panic among the locals.

Puri Superintendent of Police (SP) Sarthak Sarangi confirmed the news, saying an investigation is underway into the matter.

There were three persons, including Panda in the helicopter when it took off after 10 to 15 minutes of staying on the lake water in a floating position, the SP informed.

Two passengers, identified as Aarti Tikoo Singh, Abhijit Iyer Mitra (both are journalists), were in the chopper while Panda was flying on the lake water, police said.

The helicopter is registered under the name of Indian Metals and Ferro Alloys (IMFA), a company owned by Panda’s family.

The Puri police has seized the helicopter hours after Binod Acharya, Assistant Conservator of Forests of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA), at Marine Police Station in Arakhkuda in Puri.

“The local people, tourists and fishermen became frightened of such act by the pilot and inmates of the chopper. Such unauthorised flying over ‘No Flying Eco Sensitive Zone’ is causing hovering over the water making the atmosphere noxious and fouling the Chilika Lake water, damaging the navigation route,” the complaint read.

In his reaction, Panda said he had flown his helicopter on the same day but landed in Bhubaneswar in different time, which can be checked in ATC record.

An FIR has been registered under sections 277, 278, 336, 431 of IPC and 11 Aircraft Act, 1934.

Sources said that neither the local administration nor police were informed about the helicopter’s landing and purpose behind it.

Also Read: ‘Seaplane’ landing at Odisha’s Chilika: FIR lodged over unauthorised flying

The seaplane landed at 1.30 pm at Nanganashi Mouth of Chilika and it was creating loud noise. The plane took off in 10-15 minutes after staying on water in floating position.

The unauthorised flying of an alleged chopper over Chilika Lake was reported just days after Centre cancelled the proposed water aerodrome project at Chilika Lake following criticism from various quarters.

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