Deepak Kharia (23) of 43 Wing, Indian Air Force Station, Sulur air base, was shot dead by his fellow Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Rakesh Kumar at a guard post near the runway in the early hours of Friday.

According to sources, Deepak Kharia approached the guard post and Rakesh Kumar "challenged the entry of a stranger." Mr. Kharia is said to have failed to identify himself as per the security procedure. In the absence of a response to the "challenge," Rakesh Kumar opened three rounds of fire. Two shots reportedly hit Mr. Kharia in the chest.

Committee constituted

The Group Captain of the Air Base has constituted a committee to inquire into the incident.

Superintendent of Police, Coimbatore Rural District, N. Kannan, visited the scene and held inquiries.

While Mr. Kumar is in the custody of Air Force officials for questioning, the Sulur Police registered a case of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code. Investigations will be on to ascertain whether the opening of fire was done with knowledge and intentionally.

After investigations, the police will hand over the case to the Air Force for court martial proceedings.