Helicopter row: Baijayant Panda appears before DGCA

Bhubaneswar: Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda today appeared before the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) at the governmental regulatory body’s Delhi office in connection with the alleged hovering of a helicopter flown by him over the ‘eco-sensitive zone’ of Chilika lagoon on September 15.

DGCA had yesterday issued notice to Panda asking it to appear before it today.

Puri police had on September 17 seized the chopper over the allegations. The action was taken on the basis of a complaint lodged by Assistant Conservator of Forests (ACF), Chilika Development Authority (CDA), Binod Acharya with the Marine Police Station at Arakhakuda in Puri.

Later, Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPCA) director Suresh Chandra Hota had informed that DGCA will probe into the allegations.

The forest official had alleged that a low-flying white helicopter hovered over Arakhakuda within the restricted area of the lagoon and attempted to land there at around 1.30 pm.

However, Panda had refuted the charges levelled against him saying that he flew over Rajhans-Puri-Konark and landed at Kendrapara at 10.28 am and later flew from Kendrapara at 12.50 pm and landed at Bhubaneswar at 1.30 pm, not at Chilika.

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