The DGCA in its investigation into a complaint against Baijayant Panda's alleged low-flying over the Chilika Lake has concluded that there "was no violation observed iof DGCA rules and regulations".
The investigation was carried after DGCA recieved a complaint that a "helicopter had flown "dangerously over Chilika Lake on 15/09/2018"
A former Member of Parliament, Panda's chopper was seized by Odisha police in September for alleged unauthorised flying of a chopper at a "dangerous level" over the Chilika Lake - an 'eco-sensitive, no-flying zone' in the coastal belt of the state.
"An FIR filed by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) at the Marine Police Station in Puri has alleged unauthorised flying of a chopper at a "dangerous level" on September 15," Superintendent of Police Sarthak Sarangi had said.
An elated Panda on Friday in a Tweet said" Total clean chit by DGCA on Odisha Govt's cooked up case against me & my helicopter flying, & sealing a hangar at Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar for the past 1.5 months, immobilising 3 choppers (incl 2 against which thr were no allegations whatsoever)
Total clean chit by DGCA on Odisha Govt's cooked up case against me & my helicopter flying, & sealing a hangar at Biju Patnaik Airport, Bhubaneswar for the past 1.5 months, immobilising 3 choppers (incl 2 against which thr were no allegations whatsoever)! pic.twitter.com/w6jsUJ6m3T— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) October 26, 2018
At the time of the incident in September, Director of Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) Suresh Chandra Hota, had said that he had no information on other details sought by the police like the longitude, latitude and the height it flew at. “We have written to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) seeking advice on opening of the Black Box for the details like what height it stooped to because areas beyond 15-20 miles from the Bhubaneswar airport are not under our radar coverage,” he had added.
Now, the letter from Director Air Safety, DGCA to the Director of Bhubaneshwar Airpor states that "Based on fact and evidence it could not be established that helicopter has flown dangerously below the assigned altitude or have landed at Chilika lake," essentially exonerating Panda of any alleged breach with regard to the DGCA rules.
It is pertinenet to note that Panda had denied the allegations at the outset in September and claimed that he had no intention of landing on Chilika and the chopper was not flying low.
"A local cop from Puri has come to Bhubaneswar airport & seized the hangar & the helicopter I fly Brazen attempt to handicap my movement around Odisha, but they can't stop me," he had tweeted at the time of the incident.