Govt heaps insults on injured MiG-21 pilot

Discussion in 'Indian Air Force' started by happy, Jan 17, 2014.

  1. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Nine years after sustaining debilitating injuries in a MiG-21 crash in Rajasthan, an accident in which he stayed inside the doomed aircraft till the last moment in order to save a village on the ground, Indian Air Force pilot Wing Commander Sanjeet Kaila now faces the full might of an unapologetic state. Next week, the still serving officer, who was forced to move to less strenuous duties following severe spinal injuries in the crash, will be at the Delhi High Court to respond to a shocking litany of insults heaped on him in the form of two affidavits filed by the Ministry of Defence and Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

    The affidavits, accessed by Headlines Today, read like a tirade against the aggrieved pilot, repeatedly calling into question his motivations, his character and his intentions.

    In May 2013, Wing Commander Kaila dragged the MoD and HAL to court after 2 RTI queries revealed to him starting August 2012 that a manufacturing defect by HAL arising from ‘poor workmanship’ had been found by a Court of Inquiry, to be the direct cause of the 2005 crash that left him a severely painful chronic condition called cervicalgia, that completely rules out any strenuous exercise, leave along fighter flying. Wing Commander Kaila has told the High Court that repeated representations by him to the MoD for redressal between December 2012 and May 2013 were ignored, forcing him to sue. The officer has also repeatedly told the court that he is not looking for monetary or other compensation, but for accountability to be fixed on HAL for the crash.

    But the MoD and HAL have responded to the pilot’s petition with extreme aggression, unleashing a volley of aspersions on Wing Commander Kaila’s case. In ten separate places, the aspersions case on him are (a) That he did not seek legal remedy immediately after the crash, (b) That he is primarily looking for compensation, (c) That accidents of this kind (involving proven manufacturing defects) are an ‘occupational hazard’, (d) That he has only himself to blame for the damage to his ‘career progression’, (e) That he is angry and frustrated as a result of being denied a promotion to the rank of Group Captain (equivalent to Colonel in the Army), (f) That his injuries were not a result of the crash, but commensurate with age, (g) That the pilot’s case affects morale and discipline in the IAF, (h) That the pilot’s case affects operational efficiency and integrity of the armed forces as a whole, and probably, the most stinging, (i) that Wing Commander Kaila has filed the case to somehow mask his own ‘fault’ and ‘negligence’.

    HEADLINES TODAY has learnt that Wing Commander Kaila, shocked by the questions that have been raised on his character and integrity in court, is preparing to contest all of the assertions made by the government in its reply to his petition with documentary evidence, including medical reports, official communications within the IAF and other material. The case will be coming up shortly before a new bench of the Delhi High Court.

    On 4 January 2005, Wing Commander Kaila, then a Squadron Leader at the IAF’s frontline fighter base in Nal, Rajasthan, took off on a regular flight exercise in a MiG-21 (Tail No. C-2236) as part of daily flying duties. His aircraft jerked dangerously to one side immediately after take-off. Over radio, he was informed by his wingman in a MiG-21 flying near him that his aircraft’s tail was on fire. According to his petition, and thereafter recorded in official communications within his unit, “Despite a near-complete engine/control failure and at grave risk to his own life, Kaila continued to stay put in an almost uncontrollable aircraft so as to steer it away to safety from a nearby village. To save human life, he ejected only seconds before the crash of the aircraft.” Despite the crash, Wing Commander Kaila continued to fly fighters for nine months after the accident, but was then forces to stop after his condition in his spine abruptly deteriorated. A Court of Inquiry into the crash revealed that the chief caused of the accident was a fatigue crack in the welded portion of the after burner manifold leading to a fire in the aircraft — the structural weakness of the safety-critical component was attributed by the IAF to to a manufacturing defect and poor workmanship at the HAL’s MiG-21 license production facility.

    Wing Commander Kaila’s decision to sue the government last year created waves in armed forces circles, given that this was the first time a crash survivor had sued the government seeking redressal against the violation of his fundamental right to life, especially the right to work in a safe environment, enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

    Govt heaps insults on injured MiG-21 pilot | idrw.org
     
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  3. happy

    happy Senior Member Senior Member

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    I dont know what went wrong between the ace and the govt but, I certainly do not approve of the govt reaction. I don't understand what is wrong in ensuring that quality is maintained while manufacturing critical components of fighter aircraft. No wonder HAL is limited only to upgrade rather than innovate. :(
     
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  4. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Our Gov is not a Citizen friendly hence they are trying to shut him up, I feel sorry for the Gentleman Officer ..

    It is logical and beneficial for National security that we root out corrupt and inefficient / Unreliable elements from Our defense Industry but unfortunately Our Gov fall in that Inefficient / Unreliable catagory ..
     
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