Allegations of taking aircraft, cash as bribe to enquiry led to DGCA official's suspension

Allegations of taking aircraft, cash as bribe to enquiry led to DGCA official's suspension

New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) A whistleblower complaint alleging corrupt activities by a DGCA official, including taking training aircraft and cash as bribe, reached the civil aviation ministry late last month.

A departmental transfer and a preliminary enquiry later, the official was suspended by the government on Wednesday.

Captain Anil Gill was handling Flying Training Organisations (FTOs) when the alleged corrupt activities happened and currently, he is a director posted in the Directorate of Aerosports at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

The complaint alleged that Gill extended favours to certain FTOs by taking cash as bribe and even forced them to sell their training aircraft at a nominal price. It also claimed that the official had taken three planes as bribe and two of them were leased out to Redbird Aviation Academy.

Gill has been suspended as the aviation watchdog is contemplating initiating disciplinary proceedings against him.

Earlier this month, a preliminary enquiry against him was completed and the report was submitted to the ministry. The preliminary enquiry was conducted as per the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) norms.

According to a notification issued by the ministry on Wednesday, Gill has been suspended under Section 10 of central civil services rules under which the appointing authority may place a government official under suspension in cases where a disciplinary proceeding against the person is contemplated or is pending.

During the period of suspension, Gill should be in the national capital, the order said.

'There is zero tolerance to malpractices. Any such issue will always be dealt with the strictest measures in accordance with the law,' Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said in a statement on Wednesday.

In the wake of the graft allegations, the DGCA has also started carrying out a reshuffle of duties of various officials, and transferring them to different centres.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the DGCA said it has suspended the authorisation of RedBird Flight Training Academy for carrying out maintenance of its aircraft after finding deficiencies in an audit carried out in the wake of two incidents of crash-landing last month.

After the two incidents of aircraft crash landing within a span of one week in October, the regulator had suspended operations of Redbird Flight Training Academy at all its bases.

A special maintenance audit was carried out at the training academy's main base in Baramati, Maharashtra, and at four sub-bases in Seoni, Madhya Pradesh; Kalburgi and Belgavi in Karnataka; and Lilabari, Assam.

'The findings from the special maintenance audit revealed deficiencies in personnel training, maintenance schedules and records, internal audit practices, tool and store management and fuel storage and handling,' the DGCA said in a release on Wednesday.

Subsequently, the regulator initiated enforcement action against the training academy and a show cause notice was issued.

'DGCA has reviewed the corrective actions taken by Red Bird Flight Training Academy Pvt Ltd on the findings of the maintenance audit.

'The review has indicated that the flying training organisation has failed to continuously adhere to the provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937 and Civil Aviation Requirements in order to ensure proper maintenance of the aircraft for ensuring continued safe operations.

'Accordingly, recertification of the maintenance organisation and continuous airworthiness management of M/s Red Bird Flight Training Academy Pvt Ltd is being undertaken afresh by DGCA,' the statement said. PTI RAM TRB

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