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A Few Good Men Who Fell With Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat

From a defence writer to an 'ever smiling friend', the personnel who died with the CDS are fondly remembered.

Updated
India
5 min read

The tragic Mi-17 V5 chopper crash in Tamil Nadu's Nilgiris district, that occurred on Wednesday, 8 December, has led to the premature demise of some Indian defence service personnel.

While the top names in the list are that of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and his wife, Madhulika Rawat, at The Quint, we also remember the others who fell.

Here's a look at the lives of Brigadier LS Lidder, Lt Colonel Harjinder Singh, Naik Gursewak Singh, Naik Jitendra Kumar, B Sai Teja, Havildar Satpal Rai, JWO Rana Pratap Das, JWO Pradeep A and Wing Commander PK Singh who also met their end in the crash.

Save one passenger – Indian Air Force’s Group Captain Varun Singh – who is undergoing treatment at the military hospital in Wellington, 13 lives were lost in the unfortunate accident.

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Brigadier LS Lidder

Celebrated officer Brigadier LS Lidder hailed from Panchkula in Haryana and was serving as the Defence Adviser to CDS Rawat.

A second generation military personnel, he had served as India’s defence attache to Kazakhstan and was a counterterrorism specialist, Hindustan Times reported.

Brig Lidder was to pick up next rank and a division shortly. One of the last papers he authored was published in the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) journal.

He is survived by his wife Geetika and 16-year-old daughter Aashna.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Brig Lidder with his wife and children.</p></div>

Brig Lidder with his wife and children.

(Photo Courtesy: Vinod Kapri @vinodkapri/twitter)

Tributes for Brig Lidder have come in from all quarters on social media, especially from those who had served with him.

Lt Col Harjinder Singh

Lt Col Harjinder Singh belonged to the same regiment as Rawat – the 11 Gorkha Rifles – and had been serving as Staff Officer to the CDS. After his demise, an army veteran fondly remembered working with the "ever smiling" officer.

Hailing from Lucknow, Singh was involved in several key operations such as the Siachen Glacier and served a tenure in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission, The Indian Express reported.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Lt Col Harjinder Singh.</p></div>

Lt Col Harjinder Singh.

(Photo Courtesy: Twitter)

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Havildar Satpal Rai

Havildar Satpal Rai of Takdah, Darjeeling, was the Personal Security Officer of the CDS.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Havildar Satpal Rai, who was a PSO of CDS Rawat.</p></div>

Havildar Satpal Rai, who was a PSO of CDS Rawat.

(Photo: @RajuBistaBJP/Twitter)

Naik Gursewak Singh

Naik Gursewak Singh, a native of Dode village, belonged to the 9 Para Special Forces. He was serving as a Principal Staff Officer to the CDS for the past three years.

Singh is survived by his wife, Jaspreet Kaur, two daughters aged 9 and 7 and a 3-year-old son, Times of India reported.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Naik Gursewak Singh.</p></div>

Naik Gursewak Singh.

(Courtesy: Twitter

"We hadn’t thought of this even in out wildest dreams. He spoke to us last night and today he is no more," his brother, Gurbakhsh Singh told the Indian Express.

Tributes for the soldier were posted on social media on Wednesday and Thursday.

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Naik Jitendra Kumar

Naik Jitendra Kumar, who hailed from Dhamanda village in Sehore district and belonged to 3 Para SF, was also a PSO to General Rawat. He served in the army for eight years.

He leaves behind his wife, his four-year-old daughter, and one-year-old son.

Following his untimely demise, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan wrote, "Tribute to Jitendra Kumar ji, son of the soil of Madhya Pradesh. In the heart-wrenching helicopter accident that took away CDS Bipin Rawat ji from us, Sehore's son also lost his life while discharging his duty. May God grant peace to the departed soul."

Lance Naik B Sai Teja

Lance Naik B Sai Teja, a 27-year-old security personnel, was employed as PSO for the CDS. He was from Eguva Regada village of Kurabalakota mandal in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh.

Belonging to a family of farmers, Teja joined the Indian Armed Services in 2013, The New Indian Express reported. His brother, Mahesh is also a jawan in the Indian Army.

Mourning Wednesday's tragedy, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed condolences for 'AP's brave son'.

The young soldier is survived by his parents, wife and two children aged one and three years.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Lance Naik B Sai Teja</p></div>

Lance Naik B Sai Teja

(Courtesy: Accessed by The Quint)

The Andhra Pradesh government has extended support for the officer's family.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>Lance Naik B Sai Teja</p></div>

Lance Naik B Sai Teja

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

A Few Good Men Who Fell With Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat

Wing Commander Prithvi Singh Chauhan

It was PS Chauhan who was the piloting the Mi-17 V5 helicopter when it crashed. He served as the Commanding Officer of the 109 Helicopter United at Tamil Nadu's Sulur.

The youngest of five siblings, Chauhan attended Sainik School at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh and joined the Air Force in 2000.

Recounting their last conversation for the news publication, his mother recollected that he spoke to everyone with affection, and doted on his sisters.

He is remembered by his wife, a 12-year-old daughter and a nine-year-old son.

JWO Rana Pratap Das

Junior Warrant Officer Rana Pratap Das was a native of Talcher in Odisha, and served in the Indian Air Force for 12 years.

He is reportedly survived by his wife, who is a doctor, and a one-year-old son.

Union Minister of Education remembered the IAF officer as an 'exceptional gentlemen' and mourned the loss of Odisha's 'brave son'.

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JWO Pradeep A

Pradeep Arakkal belonged to Thrissur district in Kerala, and was the chief engineer of the chopper and held the position of a JWO in the IAF.

JWO Pradeep served in key operations such as the the anti-Maoist missions in Chhattisgarh, and was deeply involved in flood rescue operations. He made valuable contributions during the 2018 deluge in Kerala.

Serving in the force for the past 19 years, he leaves behind his wife, a 7-year-old son and a 2-year-old daughter.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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