Helicopter crash in Budgam
The Indian Air Force has transferred the Air Officer Commanding (AOC) of the Srinagar base in the midst of a Court of Inquiry (CoI) probing the crash of an Mi-17 helicopter in central Kashmir’s Budgam district during a standoff with Pakistan on February 27, according to official sources.
The senior-most official of the strategic base was removed to ensure impartial probe into the crash, the sources said.
The helicopter crashed in Budgam on February 27 when Indian and Pakistani fighter jets were engaged in a fierce aerial combat, a day after India's airstrike in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan.
The Pakistani Air Force shot down Indian Mig fighter and captured its pilot Abhinandan on February 27, who was later released few days back.
Sources said the CoI was also probing whether the helicopter crashed after being accidentally hit by the IAF's air defence system, which was on highest alert following the Balakot strikes.
They said the IAF will initiate action based on the report of the CoI which may include slapping of criminal case against those found guilty.
There have been reports that the helicopter was hit by IAF's own air defence system. However, the IAF is yet to make any official comment on the issue.
Sources said the CoI was specifically probing whether a surface-to-air missile of IAF hit the chopper and whether the Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) system on board the helicopter was switched off.
The IFF helps air defence radars to identify whether an aircraft or helicopter is friendly or hostile.