Karipur probe in wrong hands, say aviation experts

The investigation into the June 10 shootout and clashes between the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI) personnel in the Karipur airport should not have been entrusted to the Kerala Police, say top AAI officials.

They say that under the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation (Amendment) Act, 1994 (SUSCA), the Union Civil Aviation Ministry is to initiate action by deputing an officer specifically for the investigation. Aviation experts wonder why the Ministry has not invoked the provisions of SUSCA for the offences committed at Karipur.

“What happened at Karipur is the gravest of unlawful acts against civil aviation safety,” a senior official of the AAI told The Hindu .

Security of passengers and aircraft is paramount in civil aviation and is among the five parameters of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). The Karipur incident cannot be treated as mere cases of destruction of public property, unlawful assembly, and culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he says.

Soft stance?

Six officials of the Air Traffic Control were arrested and dismissed under the provisions of the Act when they went on a nationwide stir demanding salary hike during the Vajpayee government. “Why is the Ministry adopting double standards and taking a soft stand now?” asks the official.

Section 5A (1) of the Act says the Centre can confer on any of its officers powers of investigation, arrest, and prosecution exercisable by a police officer under Cr.PC, 1973. Besides violation of aviation safety rules, all other crimes committed in Karipur must be investigated by the officer appointed by the Centre, the official says.

Civil aviation sources say the Act makes it clear that the local police have no right to investigate the case or arrest the suspects as has been happening in Karipur. The local police can only assist the officer designated.

Thus, the investigation and arrests by the local police is not only in gross violation of the Act, they are in wrong direction too, says aviation analyst Jacob K. Philip.

Quoting provisions of the Act, civil aviation sources say that each clause regarding airport and aviation safety in the Act has been violated at Karipur.

Want aviation ministry to invoke provisions of SUSCA

Act specifies that local police cannot probe such cases

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Printable version | Nov 27, 2020 11:57:10 PM |

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