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Action against officers in Budgam chopper fratricide case stopped

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A military court has stayed further action in the ongoing disciplinary action against two officers allegedly involved in the Srinagar chopper fratricide case on the next day of Balakot airstrikes last year.

Six Indian Air Force and a civilian were killed in the case including two pilots and four other crew members over Budgam while they were returning to the Srinagar airbase around the same time when the Pakistani fighters were moving around Indian territory.
Both the offices (Group Captain SR Chowdhary and Wing Commander Shyam Naithani) had challenged the court of inquiry (CoI) as well as its finding on the ground of violation of particular air force rules as well as the composition of the Court of Inquiry being contrary to Air Force order,” the counsel of the two officers Ankur Chhibber was quoted as saying by ANI.

“The court after hearing the parties was pleased to direct that prima facie there are violations in the CoI and therefore has directed that no action be taken based on the said CoI and its findings till the next date which is September 30,” he said.

The Principal Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal headed by Chairman Rajendra Menon said that “we are of the considered view that the applicant has, prima facile, been able to demonstrate non-compliance with non statutory provisions in the conduct of court of inquiry.”

While Gp Captain Chaudhary was the Chief Operations Officer of the Srinagar airbase when the incident took place and the wing commander was the Senior Air Traffic Control officer (SATCO).
A missile from the SPYDER air Defence Missile systems was fired at the Mi-17v5 chopper and brought it down immediately.

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