Saturday, July 04, 2015

KPS Gill backs RAW chief on IC-814 goof-up

Chandigarh: The former cabinet secretary had "frittered away opportunities to gun down terrorists" when the infamous Indian Airlines flight IC-814 had landed in Amritsar while on its way to Kandahar in 1999. This has been stated by former Punjab top cop KPS Gill who has come out in support of former RAW chief A S Dulat's disclosure of goof-ups in the handling of the hijacking.

"What Dulat is saying today is not misplaced," he told TOI. "What transpired in Amritsar was avoidable. I rang up the then cabinet secretary Prabhat Kumar twice to use my past experience at the same airport, but he didn't return my phone calls." Gill retired in 1995.

The 1989 Padma Shri award-winner further said that National Security Guards (NSG) should have been paratrooped from Manesar without waiting for a go-ahead from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for two hours while considering that early darkness on a wintry December would have made the take-off impossible.
At the same time Gill says the Punjab cops should not have allowed IC-814 to take off by switching off the runway lights and setting up blockades. The flight had taken off 7.44pm on December 24.
Gill had successfully handled two hijacking incidents at the same tarmac in Amritsar in 1993.
04/07/15 Rohan Dua/Times of India

Kandahar hijack: Yashwant Sinha says 'passenger safety' was topmost concern

New Delhi: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Friday said that the safety of passengers who were onboard IC-814 was the top most concern from the moment the aircraft was hijacked in Kathmandu in 1999.

"I was the member of the Cabinet Committee on national security, which was the highest political body to take decisions in such matters and from whatever I can recall, from the moment the plane was hijacked in Kathmandu the most important consideration weighing with everyone was to save the lives of the passengers," Sinha told ANI.

"Now we can debate whether the plane could have been stopped or halted in Amritsar. We would have run the risk of the plane being blown up, the hostages being killed and then perhaps we would not have been sitting and discussing like we are doing today," he added.
03/07/15 ANI/Business Standard

CPI wants L K Advani to throw light on Kandahar hijack incident

With new disclosures made by former Chief of the Research and Analysis wing (RAW) A.S. Dulat on the 1999 Kandahar hijack incident, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja on Thursday said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) veteran L K Advani, who was the deputy prime minister at that time, must throw light on the details of the episode.
“These are new revelations coming to the public domain. Even at that time there was a lot of criticism about the External Affairs Minister accompanying the terrorists to Kandahar and the way the whole crisis was handled,” said Raja.
Raja pointed out that there are many details coming into the public domain even with regard to Jammu and Kashmir.
“How Vajpayee and his party negotiated with the National Conference of Jammu and Kashmir headed by Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah,” he added.
03/07/15 ANI/Financial Express

All are party to IC-814 decision: BJP

New Delhi: The decision to release three dreaded terrorists in exchange for passengers of IC-814 in 1999 was taken to secure the lives of passengers aboard the Indian Airlines aircraft, and all major political parties including the Congress had authorized the Vajpayee government to take an appropriate decision, former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said on Friday.

"It was an over-arching decision of the government, in consonance with the mood of the nation. We were not selling a book," Sinha said. As a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security during the hijack period, Sinha was privy to all crucial decisions linked to the hijack.

A S Dulat, chief of Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) during the hijack and later advisor to then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has claimed in his new book that the government goofed up in dealing with the hijack.

Sinha, however said all parties were involved in the decision to release the terrorists. "As far as I remember, there were all-party meetings, and also with individual leaders of parties. While the facts of the situation were shared with responsible leaders of opposition parties, everyone said the government is best placed to take a decision, and government was authorized to take the decision," Sinha said. "Dulat is not blaming the political leadership... No advice was given by the CMG in that short time," he added.
04/07/15 Times of India

Making sense of former RAW chief AS Dulat's revelations

Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat's interview to India Today TV has kicked up a storm with the Opposition led by Congress cornering Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Congress said Dulat's interview revealed "disturbing facts" about the hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999 and 2002 Gujarat riots.
Here is a cheat sheet of Dulat's expose:
1. NDA goofed-up IC-814 hijacking : Speaking to Karan Thapar during India Today TV's To The Point program, Dulat, whose book 'Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years' is slated to be released soon, claimed that the then NDA government "goofed up" the 1999 Air India IC-814 Kandahar hijack case as no one wanted to take a decision fearing loss of lives.

2. Vajpayee govt confused over IC-814 action: Dulat, who headed RAW till 2000 before he was appointed as Special Advisor on Kashmir in the PMO during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, said, "Let me say, we goofed up ... what was upper most in everybody's mind was security of the people." "So instead of giving out clear instruction to Punjab police, which was incharge on ground there... nobody was willing to say this plane should never be allowed to leave Amritsar."
3. 'Angry' Farooq Abdullah offered resignation: The former RAW chief also said that initially the terrorists wanted 105 terrorists to be freed. He also said two of the three terrorists were in Jammu and Kashmir and then chief minister Farooq Abdullah was angry about letting them go. Abdullah even contemplated resignation over the issue.
03/07/15 India Today

Air India, GoAir may face DGCA notice for alleged safety violation

New Delhi: Air India and GoAir have come under the scanner of aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), for allegedly violating safety norms while operating flights to Leh recently.

The DGCA has already started its investigation in the alleged violations and may issue a notice to the two carriers shortly in this regard, official sources said.

"Though the investigation are being carried out, initial probe suggests that the two airlines violated safety norms by going ahead with the landing despite adverse weather conditions," a source said, adding, the DGCA has already called the four commanders of the two airlines, who operated these flights, for questioning.
03/07/15 PTI/Daily News & Analysis

Rijiju did not delay flight, Civil aviation ministry tells PMO

New Delhi:  Civil aviation ministry on Friday night said it has given a clean chit to minister of state for home affairs Kiren Rijiju in the Air India flight controversy and the Prime Minister's Office has been apprised about it.

The ministry has informed the PMO that Rijiju was not at "fault" for the delay in Air India's Leh-Delhi flight on June 24, minister of state for civil aviation Mahesh Sharma said.
03/07/15 PTI/Times of India

Air India Deboarding row: Upset with the way Raju clarified, says Kiren Rijiju

New Delhi: Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju Friday said he was upset with the Civil Aviation Minister for his statement made a day ago, wherein he apologised to passengers who faced inconvenience because of VIP movement.
Rijiju also told The Indian Express that he would write a letter to Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, asking him to seek an explanation from Air India on the circumstances under which the public airline advanced the flight timings, causing inconvenience to all the passengers, including him.
Rijiju also said no passengers were offloaded to make way for him and Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Nirmal Singh on June 24.
“I am very upset with the way Air India or the Civil Aviation Minister has clarified because we are colleagues and we are responsible for the misconduct of any of our government officials or PSUs like Air India. Civil Aviation Ministry must immediately seek a report and I want to know the reason why Air India changed the original schedule from Leh to Delhi, preponing it by nearly an hour, causing injustice to all of us, all the passengers. It must be explained,” said Rijiju.
04/07/15 Vijaita Singh/Indian Express

Shiv Sena criticises CM over flight delay episode

Mumbai: After the Prime Minister’s office asked the civil aviation ministry for a report on the delay in Air India flights, the Shiv Sena criticised chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ Air India flight delay episode in its party mouthpiece Saamana on Friday.
It has asked why the government, despite having a good start, was mired in controversies within a year. Something is going wrong and chief minister has to contemplate over this, the party advised.
The editorial has come after Praveen Pardeshi, an official in the CM’s team, on the way to USA for an official tour forgot to carry proper travel documents and hence the flight was delayed. The Sena asked if similar “social work” would be done for an ill person as well.
“We remember how the BJP ministers took oath at the opulent programme at Churchgate stadium. It thought that it would run the government without the Shiv Sena. … But today a few BJP ministers, including the chief minister are in trouble,” the piece said.
04/07/15 Asian Age

Coast guard miraculously saves six fishermen marooned in deep sea for more than 15 days

New Delhi: Six fishermen stranded mid-sea in Bay of Bengal for more than 15 days had a miraculous escape on Friday after being spotted by the maritime surveillance aircraft Dornier belonging to the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) during its routine sortie.

Officials said that the rescued fishermen who are being brought to the port by an ICG ship have been attended to by a medical team are out of any danger to life and they will reach Haldia port in West Bengal by 11 am on Saturday.
"The fishing boat, identified as KR-MFV-1641 belonging to Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh had set on sail on June 15 and were due to return on June 18. However, the boat was adrift without propulsion and power supply because of engine failure. A Dornier aircraft on a sortie from Bhubaneshwar in Ordisha, spotted the boat 145 nautical miles off Haldia on Thursday morning following which one of our patrolling ship 'Rajkiran' was diverted to the area. It reached fishermen around 8 AM on Friday and rescued them," ICG Chief Staff Officer (operations) (North East), DIG SS Dashila who was overseeing the rescue efforts told dna over the phone from Kolkata.
04/07/15 Daily News & Analysis

Make in India: Mahindra to make helicopters

Mumbai: The auto to aerospace conglomerate Mahindra signed two joint ventures to enhance further its presence in India’s utility aircraft and aerostructure manufacturing sector. Through its joint venture with Airbus Helicopters, Mahindra Defence will become the “first private Indian helicopter manufacturer under the ‘Make in India’ initiative,” the companies said on Friday.
The JV will set up a unit to manufacture helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces to meet the country’s military requirements.
“Both companies will now get into discussions to finalise the formation of the joint venture which will act as the prime contractor for India’s military helicopter tenders including the reconnaissance and surveillance helicopter, the Naval utility helicopter and the Naval multi-role helicopter procurement programmes,” the firms said in a statement.
S. P. Shukla, Mahindra group president (aerospace and defence sector) and chairman, Mahindra Defence Systems, said the JV would produce “India’s next generation helicopters that will not only answer our country’s defence needs but will also have the potential for exports in the future.
04/07/15 Asian Age

How CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer plans to scale up GoAir's operations

Wolfgang Prock-Schauer, the new CEO of GoAir, will oversee the lowcost airline's first major expansion drive since its inception 10 years ago. The Wadia Group-owned airline will receive the first of its 72 ordered aircraft early next year. That will increase its fleet size to 20, helping GoAir meet the requirement to fly international — five years' domestic flying experience and a fleet of at least 20 planes.

"Basically, the logic of this business (short-haul international travel)customer needs are very similar to domestic travel. They all want reliable affordable transportation," said Prock-Schauer.

He particularly sees an opportunity in the Gulf and surrounding markets in the East. "The flights are (on average) three hours, which is not very different from a flight to the south or Kolkata," he told ET.
GoAir operates a fleet of Airbus A320s, with which "you can do a lot of things", Prock-Schauer, 58, said. He should know, having been in this industry for three-and-a-half decades and having headed different airlines in different countries, including Jet Airways, British Midland Airways and Air Berlin. He was also chairman, management board at the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline group, in 2002 and 2003.
04/07/15 Anirban Chowdhury/Economic Times

DGCA allows charter aircrafts with up to 19 seats to fly without cabin crew on board

New Delhi: India's aviation regulator has accepted the airline industry's demand to allow charter aircraft with seating capacity of up to 19 people to operate without any cabin crew on board.

The decision taken by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) spells relief to the industry since as many as nearly 90% of the total 130 aircraft operated by Indian general aviation charter operators have less than 19 seats. The change in norms for these smaller aircraft is in line with global safety regulations.

Earlier, in case of an international flight beyond six hours of travel time, the operator had to carry an extra cabin crew member since the cabin crew member breaches flight duty time limitations after six hours.
04/07/15 Economic Times

Manila-bound flight diverted to Mumbai, but passenger dies

A Philippines Airlines flight, PR 657 from Abu Dhabi to Manila, made an emergency detour to Mumbai in the wee hours of Friday, due to a medical emergency on board. This detour turned out to be a stopover of five hours, as a passenger required urgent medical attention. However, his life could not be saved.
Soon after the flight landed at Mumbai airport, the MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited) medical team attended to the passenger. “The passenger was already receiving CPR on board without any signs of recovery and the MIAL medical team continued CPR and other lifesaving efforts for another 20 minutes. However, the passenger could not be revived, and was declared dead at 5 am on Friday,” said an MIAL official.
As the pilot readily took the responsibility of flying the body in the aircraft, the flight was able to push back at around 9.42 am along with the body of the deceased. An official from Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), requesting anonymity, confirmed the same. -
04/07/15 Mid Day

Rs 30 cr infra upgrade plan for eight airstrips

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government will spend Rs 30 crore on infrastructure development of eight air strips under its control. The decision to spend the amount was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today.

The infrastructure development would include development of running light system and advance air traffic advisory system at the eight airstrips in phases. The tender process for development of Jeypore airstrip in Koraput district and Jamadar Palli airstrip in Sambalpur district in the first phase has already been initiated.

In Odisha, three airstrips are under the control of private parties and one each under Airports Authority of India (AAI), defence ministry and Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).

The meeting also discussed about the international flight operations from Biju Patnaik international airport and helicopter services to tourism spots and commercial hubs. Chief secretary G C Pati, development commissioner U N Behera and R Balakrishnan , additional chief secretary (finance), among others attended the meeting.
03/07/15 Business Standard

Five trainee officers inducted as pilots in naval aviation

Kochi: Five trainee officers were today inducted into the Naval Aviation as pilots in an impressive ceremonial parade held at INS Garuda at the naval base here.

Rear Admiral S K Grewal, Flag Officer Sea Training, awarded 'Wings' to the five pilots, who were trained at the Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 550, the frontline air squadron of the Southern Naval Command.

During the 25 week course, the officers were trained in flying the Dornier aircraft and introduced to the basics of Naval Aviation, according to a Navy release.

"These officers would graduate into full fledged operational pilots after adding a few more hours of flying in operational environment," it said.
03/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

TCS to vacate one floor at Mumbai’s Air India building

Mumbai: The country’s largest software services exporter, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which occupies two floors at Nariman Point’s Air India building, is set to vacate one floor. TCS, however, will keep the other floor it has leased in the building.
Senior Air India official told FE that TCS will vacate a floor, but would keep the other.  The official, however, didn’t elaborate on the reason and timeframe when the IT services exporter will vacate the floor.
When contacted, the concerned TCS spokesperson was not available for comment.
At present, occupants in the building include the service tax department (three floors), income tax department (seven floors), Tata Consultancy Services, State Bank of India (four floors), apart from Mahila Bank, which is located on the sea-facing side of the ground floor. Air India has kept two floors, including board rooms, for its staff.
04/07/15 Rhik Kundu/Financial Express

New ADA chief C.D.Balaji to steer LCA programme

Bengaluru: Commodore C.D.Balaji (Retd), Outstanding Scientist, on Friday took charge as the Director of the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) and Programme Director of the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), according to an official announcement.

ADA, based in Bengaluru, is the premier multi-agency body spearheading the development of combat aircraft for the Air Force and the Navy - among them the LCA and the proposed Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft AMCA.

Prior to his elevation, Cmde Balaji was Project Director of the LCA’s naval version. He succeeds P.S. Subramanyam, Distinguished Scientist, who superannuated on June 30.
03/07/15 The Hindu

Traffic at Kangra airport increases threefold in 6 months

Dharmshala:  Records retrieved from the airport authority have shown that traffic at Kangra airport has been on the rise. Dharamshala is the home to Tibetans-in-exile and an international cricket stadium also exists here, In January, the total number of arrivals and departures at this airport were 66, and 2,479 passengers used this airport. And in June, the number of flights arriving and departing from here reached 184 and the passenger count increased to 8,372. Airport director Kuldeep Sharma said: "This airport has become the busiest airport in the state and functions better than those in Punjab. Airports at Amritsar and Chandigarh are pretty close in number of passengers while those at Ludhiana and Pathankot are lagging behind."
04/07/15 S Gopal Puri/Times of India

Sr citizen accuses AI of damaging her costly wheelchair

Pune: While the attentions of Air India have been known to be rather prompt for VIPs and political leaders, it appears the airline has been rather negligent in the case of some common commuters. Only days ago, controversy reared its head when Air India Flight 191 was delayed by an hour because Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis's principal secretary, Pravinsinh Pardeshi, realised he had forgotten his passport containing a valid US visa at home. As a result, over 250 passengers got to cool their heels in the flight till the itinerant document was retrieved.

Now, a physically challenged woman from the city has emphasised the claim of the airline's nonchalance, accusing it of negligence in transporting her specially designed wheelchair, which was damaged during a flight two months ago, leaving her helpless while her son runs from pillar to post for compensation in vain.

Razia Malik was travelling from Chicago to Pune via Delhi Flight AI-126 on March 29 this year, with her son Tausif Malik, when the incident occurred. Razia had undergone a spinal cord surgery in the US, and was flying back with the recliner wheelchair worth close to Rs 50,000 or USD 1,000. But when the two touched down in Pune, the wheelchair was badly damaged.
04/07/15 Sukrit Gumaste/Pune Mirror

AAI, Sikkim govt sign MoU for Pakyong Airport

National airport operator AAI and Sikkim Government have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the recommencement of work at the Pakyong Airport in the state, which has been held up since January this year over the compensation to the displaced persons.

Following the signing of the MoU, it has been decided that the work on the airport would recommence from October 1, Airports Authority of India said in a release.

The work at the airport was stopped in January due to locals agitating over the issue of compensation to be paid for the houses affected because of the earth filling works.
03/07/15/ PTI/Business Standard

Six held for smuggling gold worth Rs 2.85 cr at airport

Six persons, including two foreigners, have been arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle into the country gold valued at Rs 2.85 crore at the international airport here.

The passengers, who included three women, were intercepted by customs officials on their arrival here on Wednesday. They had arrived in different flights from Dubai, Armenia and Azerbaijan, customs officials said today.

All of them were allegedly found to be carrying gold weighing 10.7 kgs. The gold was seized and the passengers were arrested. The value of the seized gold is assessed to be Rs 2.85 crore, they said.
03/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

Enforcers anticipate surge in gold smuggling this Onam

Thiruvananthapuram: Customs enforcers anticipate a surge in gold smuggling in the run-up to Onam this year.

In a bid to staunch the inflow of contraband gold prior to Kerala’s marriage and shopping season, the agency has urged the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) to issue its agents security passes that grant full access to all areas in airports in Kerala.

Commissioner of Customs (Preventive) K.N. Raghavan recently told members of various airport security committees that limiting the access of his agents to specific quarters in airports could imperil anti-smuggling operations.

Kerala has a big market for gold. Smuggling bullion into the State had turned appealingly lucrative after the Union government hiked the import duty on gold to tackle the country’s yawning current account deficit. Gulf-based gold smugglers actively recruited low-paid baggage handlers and corrupt airport staff to achieve operational success. Smugglers routinely stowed away contraband gold in aircraft closets, beneath seats or inside cabin panels to be collected by their airport-collaborators. Toilets, aerobridges and “ferry buses” were the usual drop points.
04/07/15 G. Anand/The Hindu

Zambian woman held with drugs at IGI airport

New Delhi: A Zambian woman has been arrested from Indira Gandhi International Airport here for allegedly trying to smuggle out narcotics worth Rs 21 lakh.

The incident occurred on July 1 when CISF sleuths detected suspicious movements of the women flier identified as Catherine Mulenga, 36, who arrived at 11 pm to board a flight to Addis Ababa from the airport.

"Frisking of the Zambian woman's baggage led to recovery of 58 packets weighing 21 kilograms of banned narcotics called Methaqualone. The drugs were cleverly hidden in her purse and some cricket gear the lady was carrying. She was later handed over to anti-narcotics sleuths," a senior Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer said.
03/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

Friday, July 03, 2015

Man who monitored 1999 'Kandahar hijack' admits 'goof-up'

New Delhi: The man who monitored the crisis arising from the 1999 hijack of IC-814, former RA&W chief A S Dulat, has admitted in an exclusive interview to TOI that the Crisis Management Group (CMG) had "goofed up" the operation.
While he didn't go into the details of the goof-up and what exactly transpired at the five-hour CMG meeting on December 24 while the plane was parked in Amritsar, Dulat said that "no one in Delhi or Punjab wanted to bell the cat". In the meantime, the plane flew away, and with it the opportunity to gain an upper hand over the hijackers. Later, Dulat says "everyone shifted the blame to each other".

Speaking ahead of the launch of his book, 'Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years', Dulat said that the then Punjab police chief Sarabjit Singh, who was in charge of the situation when the plane was on the ground in Amritsar, said Delhi never told him that IC-814 was not to be allowed to take off. Singh did tell Delhi that he had at his disposal Punjab commandos trained in anti-terrorism operations who could storm the aircraft but Delhi's response was that it did not want any casualties.

After the plane flew off to Lahore - the next stop was Dubai and eventually Kandahar - Dulat writes that the "CMG degenerated into a blame game...with the cabinet secretary being head of the CMG as one target and NSG chief Nikhil Kumar, another."
03/07/15 Neelam Raaj/Times of India

India wanted to raid IC-814 in Dubai, but Farooq Abdullah opposed swap, says former RAW chief AS Dulat

New Delhi: A decade separated the two incidents but both times, A S Dulat, former chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), had to face the wrath of then Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah over the release of wanted militants in the Kashmir valley.
In his book Kashmir — The Vajpayee Years, published by Harper Collins, Dulat writes that the first incident was in December 1989 when five militants were released in exchange for the release of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s daughter Rubaiya who had been abducted and the second was in December 1999 when Masood Azhar, Omar Sheikh and Mushtak Ahmad Zargar were swapped in Kandahar for the passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC-814.
Both times, it was Dulat, first as head of the Intelligence Bureau’s Srinagar unit and later as the R&AW chief, who was picked to placate the chief minister. And the experience, he writes, was harrowing.
His conclusion: “…that General Pervez (Musharraf) had to have a hand in the hijacking. The reason one can say so with such certainty is that such an operation could not have been undertaken without ISI support…” On the drama that preceded the release of militants for the IC-814 passengers, Dulat remembers how Farooq Abdullah rebuffed him: “You again… You were there during Rubaiya’s kidnapping. How could you come back again? I said then whatever you are doing is wrong, and I am saying it again. I don’t agree with it.” “He (Abdullah) experienced waves of anger. He would calm down and then would start all over again. Calm down and start again. Then he was at it: how weak Delhi was, how big a mistake this is, what a bunch of bloody idiots, buffoons. It just went on and on and on… He then called up Jaswant Singh and give him an earful: “aap jo bhi kar rahe hain, galat kar rahe hain.” He called up others in Delhi. He kept banging the phone down… “I will not let this Kashmiri fellow (Zargar) go, he’s a killer. He will not be released.’’ The shouting, Dulat recalls, continued for three hours, after which the chief minister announced he was going to see the Governor, another former R&AW chief Gary Saxena, to hand in his resignation.
The book mention another hitherto unknown fact about the IC-814 hijacking: while the plane was at the Dubai airport, India had contemplated a commando-raid, but local authorities refused to cooperate. “We tried to prevail on the Americans to put pressure on the UAE to allow us a raid, but India found itself isolated internationally. Nothing seemed to be going our way.”
03/07/15 Ritu Sarin/Indian Express

Kandahar hijack: Congress attacks BJP after ex-RAW chief AS Dulat's revelations

New Delhi: The Congress on Friday said former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief AS Dulat's interview to India Today TV has revealed "disturbing facts" about the Kandahar hijack of Indian Airlines IC 814 plane in 1999 and demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi must apologise on behalf of his party.
"They have compromised the interests of the country whenever they have been in power. Who was behind these decisions? The prime minister should break his silence and apologise to the country," Congress spokesperson Ajoy Kumar said.
Dulat, author 'Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years', headed RAW till 2000 before he was appointed as Special Advisor on Kashmir in the PMO during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. In his interview with Karan Thapar, he said the Kandahar hijack was "goofed up" as no one wanted to take a decision fearing loss of lives.
03/07/15 India Today

Parole plea of Kandahar hijacking convict Momin rejected

Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday refused to grant parole to Abdul Latif Momin, one of the convicts in the 1999 Kandahar hijack case. Momin, a lifer, had sought parole on the ground that he had been behind bars for the last over 15 years and wanted to meet his mother who was suffering from old-age related ailments.

Dismissing his plea for parole, Justice Rajmohan Singh held that "right of parole is not an absolute right". "It is a subject matter of restrictive mechanism based on discretionary powers vested in administrative authorities and instructions issued by the state. Parole is a conditional release based on satisfaction of executive authorities, which is further subject matter of recommendations by different authorities in hierarchy. Parole can be denied in view of public interest and public outcry in cases of heinous acts," observed the court while refusing to grant parole to Momin.
In his petition, Momin had argued that he had approached the Patiala jail superintendent last year for parole but he had not taken any action on his application. He stated that the jail superintendent even did not inform him about the grounds on which his plea for one month parole was rejected.
03/07/15 Times of India

Aviation min apologises for Fadnavis, Rijiju but heads should roll at Air India

New Delhi: The Minister of Civil Aviation today offered an unconditional apology for Air India's abominable conduct in preferring VIP passengers over regular, paid ones and that is reassuring. But it does not even begin the address the problems Air India is faced with.
In a hastily convened presser this evening, A Gajapathi Raju said "we regret it" even as he admitted that neither the sequence of events nor accountability in the recent episodes was clear as of now.
The ministry continues to await a report from Air India on exactly what transpired on two flights which were allegedly delayed due to VIP tantrums. The minister also acknowledged that the Prime Minister's Office has sought a detailed report on the two incidents.
Now, after Air India does manage to submit a report of the two incidents, Raju will consult civil aviation secretary RN Choubey before deciding on a course of action. Though the minister hesitated to say what the action or actions would be, isn't it only natural to expect some heads to roll in Air India for inconveniencing hundreds of passengers just for a handful of VIPs?
Air India has been in the news for all the wrong reasons this past week, prompting sceptics to again question the rationale of this government shying away from privatising the white elephant.
03/07/15 First Post

Air India flights delay: PMO seeks report from Aviation Ministry

The Prime Minister's Office on Thursday sought a report from the Civil Aviation Ministry on the recent reports of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis delaying Air India flights on account of their VIP status.
The Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday sought a report from the Civil Aviation Ministry on the recent reports of Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis delaying Air India flights on account of their VIP status.
“@PMOIndia asks Ministry of Civil Aviation for a report on delay in #AirIndia flights on account of VIP travels in the recent past,” Press Information Bureau chief Frank Noronha said on twitter.
02/07/15 ANI/Financial Express

Minister Kiren Rijiju Says Sorry to Passengers Offloaded So He Could Fly

New Delhi:  The Prime Minister's Office has asked for a report on "VIPs" holding up flights after a massive controversy over an Air India flight being delayed by Union minister Kiren Rijiju last week. Mr Rijiju has apologised for a family being ordered off the domestic flight so he could have a seat.

"What happened was wrong. I must apologise to the off-loaded passengers. They deserve to be treated properly," Mr Rijiju told NDTV, as he battled severe criticism.
A report by the Indian Air Force (IAF) says that there were instructions from the airport director on June 24 to delay flight AI-446 from Leh to Delhi, "to accommodate a VIP."
The VIP was Kiren Rijiju, the Union Minister of State for Home, who, along with Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, had rushed to the airport after attending the "Sindhu Darshan" festival in the morning.
Air India has said that Indian Foreign Service officer GV Srinivas, his wife GV Neelam and their son Dhruv Aryan were taken off the flight and their seats were given to Mr Rijiju and company.
03/07/15  Deepshikha Ghosh/

Air India flight controversy: Samajwadi Party seeks reply from ‘pradhan sevak’ PM

The Samajwadi Party on Thursday called for an end to the VVIP culture following the recent controversy surrounding Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi who claims to be the country’s ‘pradhan sevak’ must answer as to how his own Cabinet colleagues are flouting the norms.
Samajwadi Party leader Gaurav Bhatia said it is extremely unfortunate that a minister of the country causes inconvenience to hundreds of passengers for no fault of theirs.
“They reached the airport on time. They boarded the flight but then had to wait because of one person who thinks he is above the law and he is a VVIP. We have to fight this VVIP culture and it is becoming more serious as it has found precedence now within the BJP where within two days we have seen two incidents: one that of Kiren Rijiju and another that of Devendra Fadnavis where flights were held up and grave inconvenience was caused to the common man,” Bhatia told ANI.
03/07/15 ANI/Financial Express

Fadnavis reiterates flight delay report 'misleading' even as aviation minister apologizes

New Delhi: Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said that he will initiate criminal defamation proceedings over reports that he threatened to offload with his delegation from an Air India flight to US after one of his aides reportedly forgot to carry a proper passport.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, the Maharashtra CM once again claimed that the reports accusing him of delaying an Air India flight were misleading.

This even as civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju apologized to all passengers inconvenienced by the incident.
02/07/15 Times of India

Work still in progress on changes to 5/20 norms: Ministry of Civil Aviation

NEW DELHI: Ministry of Civil Aviation today said no decision has been taken yet on changes to the 5/20 norms as work is still in progress on the matter.

The Ministry has sought views from various stakeholders on changes to the existing 5/20 norms -- whereby only domestic carriers in operation for at least five years and having a fleet of 20 aircraft are allowed to fly on international routes.
"We are working on it," Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said about changes to 5/20 norms.

All stakeholders should have clarity for their business plans with regard to the norms, he added.

Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said the proposed changes to 5/20 norms is a "work in progress" and no decision has yet been taken on the matter.
By bringing in changes in the more than decade-old rule, the government seeks to address the imbalance between domestic and foreign carriers.
02/07/15 PTI/The Economic Times

Govt mulls norms to differentiate between small and large airlines

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry is likley to come out with a new set of regulations that will differentiate small airline operators — typically private aircraft and jets — from large commercial airlines. Ministry officials said that unlike in the US and Europe, where there are different regulations covering the two different kind of airlines, India is under one blanket regulation.
The ministry has prepared a draft of new civil aviation requirements (CAR) for scheduled operators and non-scheduled operators. The draft lists out a new set of operational guidelines for small aircraft operators.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) both have different set of regulations for private and business aircraft. This is primarily because small aircraft carry fewer people, and require less ground staff and technical understanding, compared to what is required to operate large aircraft, including the narrow-body planes used for domestic commercial travel.
03/07/15 Sunny Sen/Financial Express

Aviation ministry to finalise cabinet note on international flying norms by month-end

Mumbai: The civil aviation ministry is yet to take a call on introducing domestic flying credits for airlines and easing norms for start up airlines to launch international services. On Thursday a media report said that civil aviation ministry was planning to scrap its proposal for introducing the domestic flying credits. The report said the proposal was being reviewed and is likely to be junked. However civil aviation secretary R N Choubey told Business Standard the ministry was yet to take a final decision on the issue. He said more consultations will be held on the issue. A cabinet note is yet to be finalised and it will be done by month-end, he said.

A few months ago the civil aviation ministry proposed introduction of domestic flying credits as an alternative to the existing route dispersal guidelines and relax international flying norms. The existing guidelines require airlines to deploy certain percentage of capacity on routes to and within Jammu and Kashmir and North East states. The proposed norms would require airlines to earn credits from domestic services in order to be eligible for international operations.
03/07/15 Business Standard

Civil Aviation Minister Raju has no knowledge of ministry decision on second NCR airport

New Delhi: Does the right hand know what the left is up to in the Ministry of Civil Aviation? Junior Minister Mahesh Sharma announced a decision on building a second airport in the Delhi-NCR region last week with much fanfare. He said that time that all stakeholders have been consulted and the ministry has given its in-principle nod. But his senior colleague and cabinet minister A Gajapathi Raju today appeared clueless about the entire issue.
When asked about the second airport, Raju said "I won't know if a proposal has gone from this ministry on a second airport in NCR. If any state sends proposal, we can look at an airport proposal....I am not even sure this proposal needs a nod of the cabinet".
As we said in a piece earlier this week our sources have already indicated that frustrated at the glacial speed with which this ministry has been working all of last year, the 'powers that be' have brought in several changes in its functioning. First, the top bureaucrat manning the ministry was changed a few weeks back and RN Choubey was brought in as the civil aviation secretary. And now, we hear from reliable sources that in a meeting last week, the 'powers that be' again warned ministry officials against delaying decisions. Or else. According to these sources, the 'powers that be' have now charged Minister of State Mahesh Sharma with taking quick decisions on crucial matters as they decide the fate of his senior A Gajapathi Raju.
02//07/15 FP Staff/F.Business

In double bonanza for airlines, insurance cost too falls

In spite of some large claims, insurance cost for the airline sector globally is likely to fall this year and for the domestic carriers due to intense competition and better risk management practices by the industry, says an international aviation insurance expert. This comes as a double bonanza for the bleeding airlines due to the steep fall in fuel prices following the massive crash in crude prices since the middle of last year. This is despite some large claims in overseas markets following a string of air crashes in the recent months like the Germanwings, a subsidiary of Luftansha, in March which was crash-landed by its junior pilot. "Despite a rise in volume in aviation insurance business here, the overall premia have fallen as the rates have remained soft in the global markets. We do see premia falling further here in the days to come. The reason being that there is too much of competition in the market,'' Martin Stevans, chief underwriting officer at Global Aerospace, a unit of AIG, told PTI.
03/07/15 PTI/

Indian LCCs roll out slew of customer-friendly services

SpiceJet's hand baggage-only-fares hailed as a "smart" move by aviation analysts
Over the last month, low-cost carriers (LCCs) in India, particularly IndiGo, AirAsia India and SpiceJet, have rolled out a slew of services in a bid to differentiate themselves in the highly competitive Indian civil aviation industry.
Market leader IndiGo has rolled out a prepaid-ticket coupon service called 6E Pass that is meant to give frequent flyers price stability from fluctuating air ticket costs. Priced at Rs 42,000 and Rs 21,000 (on routes less than 1,000 km) for six tickets, IndiGo’s 6E Pass targets flyers from the SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) and MSME (micro small and medium-sized enterprises) sectors. “The objective behind 6E Pass is to make the journey more hassle free by setting a fixed fare for passengers who travel frequently, but are uncertain about the dates and sector of travel,” said Aditya Ghosh, president, IndiGo, after the airline announced its 6E Pass service in early June.

IndiGo, which is looking to raise Rs 2,500 crore from the capital markets through a public float, plans to extend its coupon service for students and inbound tourists at a later date.
02/07/15 Anshul Dhamija/Forbes India

AIG is interested in providing reinsurance cover to low-cost airlines in the country

Mumbai: "We are looking at covering more airlines in India provided we get competitive pricing. We may look at providing cover to low-cost airlines here if we get them at a profitable price," he said.

"The markets are soft globally and so the aviation insurance premium is falling here too. Aviation cover depends on factors like age of aircraft, quality and occurrence of incidents," Rakesh Jain, chief executive at Reliance General Insurance, which is one of the only few private insurers to offer aviation cover.

Jain attributed the major improvements on risk management practices along with fleet modernisation for the falling premia.

Though the company refused to admit it has given cover to AirAsia India, the market says the Reliance group company is the lead insurer for the newest low-cost carrier has taken cover from.
02/07/15 PTI/

Operation of unmanned aircraft systems prohibited: police

Amid fears that drones could be used to stage a terrorist attack, Delhi Police today issued a notification saying operation of any unmanned aircraft systems by public is prohibited and anybody violating it will be strictly dealt with.

The decision is being seen as a preemptive move ahead of the upcoming Independence Day celebrations.

"General Public is hereby informed that as per orders of Director General, Civil Aviation, operation of any unmanned aircraft systems by member of public is prohibited. Violation of this order with attracts strict legal action," a senior police official said today.
02/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

No change in stand on closing HAL Airport for commercial operations: HC told

There is no change in the decision about closure of the HAL Airport for commercial operations following opening of a greenfield airport at Devanahalli, set up under the public-private partnership model, the Union government told the High Court of Karnataka on Thursday.
Additional Solicitor General of India (High Court of Karnataka) Prabhuling K. Navadgi made submission in this regard before a Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee and Justice B.V. Nagarathna during the hearing of public interest litigation petition filed by the Airports Authority of India Employees’ Union.
03/07/15 Krishnaprasad/The Hindu

India's domestic air passenger traffic up 18 percent

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Thursday reported that India's domestic passenger traffic increased by 18.2 percent in May 2015.
The country's domestic traffic spiked 20.7 percent in April 2015 and 17.9 percent in March 2015.
India's domestic capacity in the month under review rose by 7.7 percent when compared to May 2014.
"India's domestic demand accelerated 18.2 percent in May compared to May 2014, likely owing to market stimulation by local carriers as well as notable improvements in economic growth," the association which represents nearly 260 airlines was quoted in a statement.
02/07/15 IANS/Business Standard

Charan's flying dream to take wings during Godavari Pushkaralu

The release of Mega Power star Ram Charan's next flick under the direction of Srinu Vaitla will take time. But he has another release in the pipeline soon.
We already reported that Turbo Megha Airways Private Limited promoted by city-based Turbo Aviation with active backing of Ram charan Teja is gearing up to commence  commercial operations under ‘Trujet’ brand in the first week of July.
Cherry's  new business launch will coincide with Godavari Pushakarlu.
According to reports, the first flight  of Turbo Megha Airways ,which is at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport now, will fly to Rajahmundry from Hyderabad.
 Turbo Megha Airways proposes to fly to Vijayawada, Tirupathi, Rajahmundry, Bangalore and Aurangabad in the first phase.
02/07/15 Hans India

IndiGo’s term sheet to buy 250 aircraft expires

Mumbai: InterGlobe Enterprises, which runs the country’s biggest airline by market share under the IndiGo brand, said the term sheet, consisting of provisional orders to buy 250 Airbus aircraft, has expired.
The Gurgaon-based airline, however, added it is in discussion with the aircraft makers to purchase a significant number of aircraft.
“On October 12, 2014, we signed a term sheet with Airbus to enter into a purchase agreement to acquire 250 A320neo aircraft. Although the term sheet has expired, we remain in active discussions concerning the potential acquisition of a significant number of aircraft from the A320neo family,” InterGlobe Enterprises said in a draft red herring prospectus.
“There is no assurance that we will be able to negotiate the additional aircraft purchase from Airbus or that any such purchase would use a structure or contain terms comparable to our 2005 and 2011 orders from Airbus,” it added.
03/07/15 Rhik Kundu/Financial Express

Dy CM Nirmal Singh files complaint against Air India

Udhampur, July 02: Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh has filed a complaint against Air India for the 'erratic air services' faced by the people of Ladakh.
In his complaint filed to Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju, Singh said that the people of Ladakh had earlier filed a similar complaint.
He also mentioned one event of June 24, when people who had come to Ladakh to celebrate the Sindhu Darshan festival had complained against a pilot for dictating the time of arrival and departure of flights as well as the also the time for the passengers to board the plane.
03/07/15 Kashmir Images

Lalit Modi paid Rs 3.5-crore 'kickbacks' to buy aircraft, says N Srinivasan

Former BCCI chief N Srinivasan has accused former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi of paying Rs 3.5 crore in kickbacks while purchasing an aircraft for the latter. Srinivasan said Modi routed the funds through Aakash Aurora, owner of the Dubai-based Netlinkblue, to Golden Wings Pvt Ltd, the company that imported Bombardier aircraft for Modi.

The fresh accusation was made by Srinivasan in his statement on Thursday to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

"The statement recorded was based on a complaint filed by Srinivasan in 2010 against Modi and others in Chennai police station, charging them with alleged embezzlement of funds and cheating the cricketing body in the awarding of telecast rights," a senior ED offcial told dna.
According to Srinivasan, it was a "kickback" paid by Aakash to Lalit Modi via Golden Wings.
03/07/15 Shrimi Choudhary/Daily News & Analysis

2nd NCR airport: AviationMin nod came without state govt’s clearance

The ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) approved a proposal for developing a second airport in the national capital region (NCR) last Thursday without requisite approvals from the state government for the project.
Aviation ministry sources informed that while discussions have taken place with the state government for an airport in Uttar Pradesh, the UP government is keen that it comes up at Hirangaon in Firozabad district. Hirangaon is located at a distance of 238.9 km from the IGI Airport.
“No word or approval has come from the state government regarding the airport in Jewar. After the Akhilesh Yadav-government came to power in the state, they have been looking at Firozabad for the project”, said a senior official who did not wish to be named.
03/07/15 Sharmistha Mukherjee/The Indian Express

3 kg gold seized at airport

Customs officials today seized 3 kgs gold from a passenger who allegedly tried to smuggle it at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport.

The passenger, who arrived by a flight from Dubai in the early hours at the airport, had concealed the gold biscuits in a table fan, a senior Customs official said.
02/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

JetPrivilege inks pact with Etihad Regional

Mumbai:  JetPrivilege, the frequent flyer programme of Jet Airways, has entered into a frequent flyer partnership with the Switzerland-based regional carrier Etihad Regional - an Etihad Airways partner airline.

JetPrivilege members will now be able to avail themselves of more opportunities for accrual and redemption of JPMiles on all eligible flights of Etihad Regional, which becomes the 28th frequent flyer partner carrier of JetPrivilege.
02/07/15 Beena Parmar/Business Line

New landing system to give fillip to flights

Indore: For better, safe and secure landing of flights, Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport, Indore, is set to replace old instrumental landing system (ILS) with a new one. Re-carpeting the runway is also on the cards.

Airport director Manoj Chansoria said, "ILS is an important instrument as it helps aircrafts during landing. Its key features tell whether the aircraft is aligned and maintaining a proper slope." Chansoria added, "Currently we have an old system, which was installed in 1994. With technological advancements, replacement is need of the hour. Tendering process has begun and we hope to replace the system by January next year." Along with this, glide path at runway will be upgraded. "ILS and glide path help reduce chance of errors, mostly when visibility is low," said Chansoria. The new system will cost around Rs 1.34 crore while the electrification work will be done for Rs 3 lakh.
03/07/15 Times of India

64 Star tortoises seized, man detained at airport

As many as 64 star tortoises, a protected wildlife species, was seized from a man at the airport here today just before he was to board a flight to Malaysia, airport officials said.

Naina Mohammed Yasin was detained by Customs authorities before his departure to Kuala Lumpur by a Malaysian Airlines flight after it was found that he had 64 star tortoises hidden in his baggage.
002/07/15 PTI/Business Standard

Airport proposal turns Bhogapuram into realty hub

Bhogapuram-Pydibhimavaram zone has become a major hub for real estate activity with the proposal of international airport though it would take at least a decade to reap the fruits over the hard-earned investments.
According to sources, Srikakulam has lost its sheen for the last few months as high-net worth individuals preferred to put their investments in Bhogapuram region as they strongly believe that it would turn as a major commercial centre in future.
A square yard of land costs between Rs.5, 500 to Rs.7, 000 in and around Bhogapuram. Realtors anticipate further appreciation but industry watchers say huge growth may not be like what was witnessed at Shamshabad international airport.
The Stamps and Registration Department was forced to cut its estimation for Srikakulam district while enhancing projections for Vizianagaram district, thanks to proposed Bhogapuram airport in Vizianagaram district.
Bhogapuram is located on National Highway between Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam but comes under the administrative jurisdiction of Vizianagaram district.
02/07/15 The Hindu

Jalandhar MP seeks domestic airport at Adampur

Jalandhar: Jalandhar MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary met minister for civil aviation Ashok Gajapati Raju Pusapati at New Delhi on Thursday to demand domestic airport at Adampur airbase to provide aerial connectivity to NRI belt of Doaba region. Chaudhary told the minister that apart from the region being the NRI heartland, Jalandhar city was also an industrial, educational and medical hub with many export houses as well.
03/07/15 Times of India

UP Govt consent for Greater NOIDA airport yet to come

New Delhi: The civil aviation ministry may have cleared the proposal to have an airport at Jewar in Greater Noida but the Uttar Pradesh government has not yet approved the civil aviation ministry proposal for an airport at the proposed site.

Sources in the ministry of civil aviation informed that the state government is keen that the proposed airport comes up at Hirangaon in Firozabad district.

"No word or approval has come from the state government regarding the airport in Jewar. After the Akhilesh Yadav-government came to power in the state, they have been looking at Firozabad for the project," said a senior official, who did not wish to be identified.
02/07/15 Mihir Mishra/Economic Times

Brief about Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar: Biju Patnaik International Airport, Bhubaneswar, christened after the legendary leader of Odisha Sh. Bijayananada Patnaik, is owned, managed and operated by Airports Authority of India (AAI), along with 117 other airports, including 25 Civil Enclaves. Situated 3kms southwest from Bhubaneswar Railway Station, it connects Odisha with Delhi, Mumbai, Hyedrabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Vishakhapatnam and Port Blair, by air. There has been a significant growth in the passenger movement in the last couple of years with an almost 50% increase in the number of aircraft movements since 2009. 02/07/15 Odisha

Airport closure plan: Kodiyeri sees agenda

Malappuram: Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] State unit secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has raised fears that the closure of Calicut International Airport at Karipur for runway repairs would be to help the Coimbatore airport.
Inaugurating a march taken out to the Karipur airport, organised jointly by the CPI(M) Kozhikode and Malappuram district committees, on Thursday, Mr. Balakrishnan pointed out that the Coimbatore airport would benefit greatly by the closure of the Karipur airport for runway repairs.
“Closure of an airport in its peak season for a long period for repairs is unheard of in the history of Indian aviation. Karipur is being closed with a definite purpose,” the CPI(M) leader said.
Mr. Balakrishnan said that 52 services would either be cancelled or shifted to Coimbatore when the Karipur airport was closed for over a year.
“We can’t expect those services to come back to Karipur once they are gone,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.
03/07/15 The Hindu

Maharashtra plans cloud seeding if dry spell continues

With the rain gods unwilling to smile on Maharashtra after a wet spell last month, the state government is planning to begin its cloud seeding experiment from August if the trend of deficit rainfall continues.

"We are planning to begin the cloud seeding and artificial rain project in August in case the dry spell continues," a senior state government official told dna. The official added that the contractor would provide a plane for cloud seeding and this would be based at Aurangabad. A C-band doppler radar, which can predict weather and precipitation for an over 250km radius, will also be set up.
Cloud seeding involves introducing dry ice or silver iodide into clouds to aid precipitation and rainfall.

"The aircraft will be based at Aurangabad, which will also help us cover parched areas like Solapur, Sangli, Satara, Latur, Osmanabad and Beed," the official said, adding that the radar would help indicate "the accurate movement of clouds with their depth and moisture content". The sorties will be made in consultation with scientists from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM).
03/07/15 Dhaval Kulkarni/Daily News & Analysis

Air India flight controversy: Samajwadi Party seeks reply from ‘pradhan sevak’ PM

The Samajwadi Party on Thursday called for an end to the VVIP culture following the recent controversy surrounding Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi who claims to be the country’s ‘pradhan sevak’ must answer as to how his own Cabinet colleagues are flouting the norms.
Samajwadi Party leader Gaurav Bhatia said it is extremely unfortunate that a minister of the country causes inconvenience to hundreds of passengers for no fault of theirs.
03/07/15 ANI/The Financial Express

2 kgs gold seized from air passenger

Two kilos of gold allegedly smuggled here from Singapore was seized today and the accused has been detained, Airport officials said.

Acting on a tip off, Air Intelligence Unit officials detained Ikander Hayathullah as soon as he arrived here from Singapore.
02/07/15 PTI/Business Standard