A two-member committee of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation will investigate why a flight carrying Rahul Gandhi from New Delhi to Hubballi in Karnataka on Thursday developed technical difficulties, reported The Indian Express.
An unidentified official from the civil aviation watchdog said that such incidents on planes running on autopilot mode were common, reported The New Indian Express. A preliminary inquiry suggested that the aircraft’s autopilot may have shut down. Its two pilots may be questioned, reported India Today.
“It was a technical snag of autopilot mode and pilot shifted to manual mode and landed safely,” the official told The New Indian Express. “As per protocol, the DGCA will examine the incident in detail since it took place on a VIP flight.”
Following the incident on Thursday, the Congress demanded a thorough investigation, suggesting that the aircraft’s controls could have been tampered with. In its complaint to Karnataka police chief Neelamani Raju, the party said that the plane “shuddered violently, tilted to one side, dipped in altitude steeply and made cranking noises throughout”. Gandhi was travelling with his aides Kaushal K Vidyarthee, Rampreet, Rahul Ravi and Rahul Gautam.
Gandhi was flying to Karnataka for election work ahead of the Assembly polls. He released the party’s manifesto for the state at a rally in Mangaluru district on Friday. Karnataka will go to the polls on May 12, and the result will be out on May 15. The term of the current Assembly, which has 224 seats, ends on May 28.