Ghatkopar plane crash: Maria Zuberi’s family demands independent inquiry

Family members of Maria Zuberi, who was killed in a plane crash in Ghatkopar on June 28, questioned the silence of government authorities and companies involved

PTI Photo
PTI Photo
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NH Web Desk

Family members of Maria Zuberi, who was killed in a plane crash in Ghatkopar on June 28, questioned the silence of government authorities and the companies involved. The family has filed a complaint with Mumbai police against the concerned officials alleging that they were responsible for the crash directly or indirectly.

While addressing the media persons in Mumbai, on Tuesday, Zuberi’s husband Prabhat Kathuria said, “The family has attempted to file an FIR, but the police are yet to register it. The crash of the Beechcraft Airplane, ten days ago, left, not just us, but all of Mumbai in shock.”

Deputy Commissioner of Police Akhilesh Kumar said the police had not registered an FIR till Tuesday evening. “We received a complaint application on Tuesday evening. Besides, our investigation is in progress and we are awaiting the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) report,” he said.

Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) began investigating the incident, and a preliminary report is expected by next week. The VT-UPZ, which was bought by UY Avaition from a Pune-based aircraft manufacturer in 2016, was taking a test flight when it crashed

The family members of Maria had alleged that officials at UY aviation had exerted pressure on engineers and pilots to hastily get the clearance for the flight without following standard procedures.

“My wife, in her short service with UY Aviation, had told me on many occasions that Anil Chauhan, in particular, and other personnel at UY Aviation used to exert pressure on the engineers and pilots to hasten the process of getting approval for the flights by disregarding the prescribed test procedures,” emphasised Prabhat.

“I suspect UY Aviation and Indamer Aviation have together flouted safety norms and procedures to obtain an approval to fly the junk aircraft. During this time, Indamer Aviation had untrained technicians working on the repair of the Aircraft VT-UPZ. This was obviously done by UY Aviation and Indamer Aviation in order to profit from flying an unfit aircraft. In this context, it is also noteworthy that the said aircraft had been insured for an unusually high sum of ₹7 crore when the aircraft itself was worth only ₹2 crore,” said the husband of Maria Zuberi.

The family said that not only was the company was flying an aircraft even after being blacklisted but Indamer Aviation, which was engaged by UY Aviation for maintenance of the flight, had hired officials who had their license cancelled by DGCA.

“Avinash Bharti, is still working at Indamer Aviation at a high managerial position, despite his license having been cancelled by the DGCA. Other such employees whose licenses were cancelled are also still working with Indamer Aviation.”

Maria’ family are demanding a judicial inquiry into the matter and FIR against UV aviation, DGCA, Indamer, AAI and (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) MGCM.

“We want answers. Why was the plane allowed to take off at all when the weather conditions were unfavourable? Who gave permissions? What did the companies involved do in order to get this plane in the air? Why have UY aviation, Indamer, DGCA or the MCGM taken so long to give the families of the victims even a preliminary response?” asked Prabhat.

While questioning the DGCA and AAI for allowing the aircraft to fly, he demanded a probe into BMC for allowing high-rise buildings to come up in Ghatkopar, close to the airport.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) began investigating the incident, and a preliminary report is expected by next week. The VT-UPZ, which was bought by UY Avaition from a Pune-based aircraft manufacturer in 2016, was taking a test flight when it crashed.

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