New Delhi, May 15: The CBI today ruled out any “conspiracy or sabotage” in the fatal helicopter crash which killed the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR Reddy.
In its inquiry report submitted today to the state government, the agency said the crash was an “accident” which could have been averted if the pilots had terminated the journey or changed the flight path in view of adverse weather conditions.
“The inquiry ruled out any conspiracy or sabotage and concluded that the helicopter crash was an accident which could have been averted had the pilots taken a decision to terminate the journey or change the flight path in view of the adverse weather conditions,” a CBI spokesperson said here.
The accident took place in Nallamalla Reserve Forest of AP’s Kurnool district on September 2, 2009.
Reddy accompanied by his Principal Secretary P Subramanyam, IAS and his Chief Security Officer A S C Wesley had left Begumpet airport in the state-owned Bell-430 VT APG at 8.38 in the morning to attend an official programme in Chittoor district.
The helicopter was piloted by Group Captain S K Bhatia who was Pilot in Command and Captain M S Reddy who was the Co-pilot.
“The helicopter disappeared from the Radar screen of Air Traffic Control (ATC), Shamshabad, at 9.23.30 hours IST after travelling a distance of 94.1 nautical miles from the Begumpet Airport, Hyderabad,” the spokesperson said.
He said search and rescue operation team located the wreckage of the helicopter on a hillock in Nallamalla Reserve Forest along with the bodies of all the five persons, he said.
A case was registered at the local police station.
“Government of Andhra Pradesh has requested for a CBI probe into the incident and accordingly with due approval of Government of India, a preliminary inquiry was registered at CBI, Hyderabad on September 11, 2009,” he said.
The CBI carried out a detailed probe in which several witnesses were examined, he said.
“The assistance of experts from the National Aerospace Laboratories(NAL), Bangalore, Institute of Aerospace Medicine (IAM), Bangalore, Central Forensic Laboratories, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Chandigarh, Rotary Wing Society of India, Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad, National Remote Sensing Center, Hyderabad, Zen Technologies Ltd., Hyderabad and several others was taken,” the official said.
The report was submitted to the Government of Andhra Pradesh and District Magistrate Kurnool today.