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Fear Manipulation Over Agenda: IAF Pilot’s Brother on Mirage Crash

Will the family ever know the reason for the crash, Squadron Leader Samir Abrol’s brother asked.  

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Days after two Indian Air Force test pilots were killed in a Mirage 2000 crash at Bengaluru’s HAL airport, brother of one of the deceased pilots said he fears political agenda could “manipulate things” and the family won’t get a “a clearer picture” of who is responsible for the tragedy.

Sushant Abrol brought the body of his brother, Squadron Leader Samir Abrol, who died in the crash on 1 February, from Bengaluru to Delhi. He said on Thursday, 7 February, “… we were accompanied by eight officers who were my brother’s best friends, his course mates. So, that was the time I realised that such a situation could have occurred to any of them. That is when I felt from within that this thing (probe report) needs to go out and people must know what happens to our bravehearts.”

“Yes, the Court of Inquiry (CoI) happens, but what after that? First of all, will we, as a family, will ever know the reason (for the crash) or will it be confidential for the government or agencies to know,” he asked.

The two pilots were testing a Mirage 2000 trainer aircraft, which had been upgraded, when the jet crashed after take-off. Both the pilots ejected moments before the crash. However, one of them died after landing on the wreckage. Reports don’t specify if it was Squadron leader Abrol or Siddharth Negi. The other pilot succumbed to his injuries in the hospital, where he was admitted in a critical condition.

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‘Respect Defence Minister But Have This Fear’

Sushant also said that a railway minister is often questioned after a train derailment, but despite the recent crashes of Indian Air Force aircraft, no one has raised a finger against the defence minister or the armed forces.

“I have utter respect and regard for ma’am (defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman), but I still have this fear in mind that just for their own political agenda or gain, the system may manipulate things, and does not bring out a clearer picture on what were the causes and who were responsible and how will they make them accountable.”
Sushant Abrol, Squadron Leader Samir Abrol’s Brother

In an emotional poem posted by Sushant on his Facebook page, he wrote that while the bureaucracy enjoys “cheese and wine”, the air warriors are given “outdated machines” to fight.

Meanwhile, the government has said the Court of Inquiry into the crash is currently underway. The black box of the Mirage 2000 aircraft, which was recovered from the crash site, has been sent to France for data mining.

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