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Two IAF officers likely to face court martial for 27 February J&K chopper crash

The IAF chopper was shot down in Budgam in ‘friendly fire’, killing six personnel. The Court of Inquiry report could be submitted by early July.

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New Delhi: At least two officers of the Indian Air Force (IAF) are likely to face “severe” action for the death of six service personnel and a civilian on ground after a Mi-17 V-5 helicopter was shot down in “friendly fire” in Budgam on 27 February.

Sources have told ThePrint that the Court of Inquiry (CoI) is in the final stages and its report could be submitted by early July.

The probe into the incident, which took place while the Indian and Pakistani air forces were engaged in a dogfight in Nowshera sector, around 100 km away from Budgam, has so far established that the helicopter was indeed shot down by IAF’s own Spyder air defence system following the failure of command and control at official level.

ThePrint had on 30 March reported that the incident could be a case of friendly fire.

Sources said at least two IAF officers would face severe action, which may involve court martial proceedings.

Two more officials, including the person who had fired the missile, could face limited action, sources added.

Sources also said that proper protocols were not followed during identification of the helicopter and while giving orders to shoot it down.

The helicopter had taken off and crashed within the same 10-minute window when the air skirmish was underway. At that time, the region’s airbases and military installations were on hair-trigger alert following reports of Pakistan Air Force planes flying into Indian territory.

Also read: Budgam friendly fire: Should charge of culpable homicide be on the table in the fog of war?

Officers getting chance to cross-examine

The IAF officers concerned have brought in their own witnesses and are getting a chance to cross-examine others, sources said.

Sources further said the report would first be sent to the Air Officer Commanding-in-Charge (AOC-in-C) who will review the findings and give his own views. In case, he is not happy with the findings, he could order a second CoI or could decide on who he feels is guilty.

Once cleared by the AOC-in-C, the CoI report will then be sent to the Air Headquarters where the IAF chief will review it and take his decision. It is only after this process that the summary of evidence, which is similar to that of a chargesheet, will be done.

Also read: Kashmir villagers say didn’t steal crashed IAF chopper black box, uniformed men took it


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  1. I hope IAF is reviewing the whole February 20 operation including the decisions of the operations director of the IAF and the AoC in C and not just Me17 shooting. even if it’s done away from public eye, IAF didn’t prepare well for Pakistani retaliation. Performance of Wing Commander Abhinandan and other officers in that combat saved the day for IAF commanders otherwise they would be in a big trouble today.

    Vijay Rajvaidya
    India Currents, Inc..

  2. Because the mishap happened during the SAME SHORT 10 MINUTE period when the dogfights were on involving Pakistani and Indian fighter jets, perhaps a less strict view of the offence can be taken. Our media has rightly played it down, but it was a huge attack by Pakistan, when they had simultaneously pressed in as many as TWENTY FIVE fighter jets in that short time window.

    What is likely not being told us, and this is just my guess, is that someone was DELIBERATE in shooting down the helicopter. In that case a court martial would surely be warranted. Otherwise, if it was a GENUINE mistake in identifying if the helicopter was ours or enemy’s, then the ground officer who ordered the shooting could always say that he was trying to limit the damage – – a helicopter could have five ten or fifteen people on board, but if it was carrying a lethal load of heavy bombs then it could kill may be a hundred innocent people on ground if it was allowed to proceed unmarked. These are only guesses, only the IAF investigators know the true story.

  3. Mr. Chotebhai it is really easy to give ur comments sitting here.. plus a absurd fool like you who don’t read news during election says this, plus what is has do to with election, oh yes some one in Congress politics can say it was shot bcz our honorable PM said to do so.

  4. How absurd to refer to killing one’s own as “friendly fire”! It should be called a huge goof up. And why was this information suppressed during the elections?

    • Surely Modi or whoever in power will do that during the elections. The patriotism against the enemy must shine, later after election the fuck-upness will be dealth with

  5. After watching Cut the Clutter last night. The military has its own ethos, culture, systems of accountability. Men of honour.

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