Raipur Chopper crash: Congress, BJP caught in blame game

The death of two pilots in a state government-owned chopper crash in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur on Thursday has turned into a political controversy with both ruling Congress and opposition BJP levelling charges against each other after revelations that the helicopter had been facing technical issues for years.

“There has been some negligence somewhere over the helicopter’s maintenance. I demand a high-level enquiry,” BJP leader of opposition Dharamlal Kaushik said on Friday. Several other BJP leaders also raised questions on the accident and the government’s subsequent statement on the chopper’s technical malfunction.

The twin-engine, AW 109 Power Elite helicopter, used to ferry VIPs including the CM , was bought in 2007 by the then BJP government led by Raman Singh after its old helicopter crashed in July 2007, killing all four people on board, including two pilots.

On Friday, even as a DGCA team landed in Raipur to probe the accident, Congress spokesperson Sushil Anand Shukla said the BJP was deliberately trying to politicise the death of two pilots and defame them. “The pilots were adept at their jobs and they themselves oversaw maintenance of the chopper. But the BJP has forgotten some facts. The chopper had faced technical glitches soon after it was bought from an unauthorised shell company in Hong Kong by the BJP at a hiked price of Rs 65 lakh,” he said.

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