Congress attacks Chhattisgarh government over missing chopper

August 25th, 2008 - 6:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 25 (IANS)The Congress in Chhattisgarh Monday hit out at the state government for its “complete failure” to trace a private helicopter that went missing with four crew members in a forested stretch Aug 3.Ramesh Varlyani, the Congress spokesman, said the party would make it a campaign issue in the coming assembly elections.

A Ran Air chopper - Bell-430 - took off from Hyderabad for Raipur Aug 3 and was to land at Jagdalpur, headquarters of Bastar district, for refuelling. It never landed. The four crew on board included the pilot, co-pilot, an engineer and a technician.

The helicopter was booked by the Chhattisgarh government to take Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam from Raipur to the Jharkhand capital Ranchi Aug 4. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh was scheduled to use the craft for party functions in Jharkhand.

“The BJP government has no control over the vast forested area in Bastar that is under the command of Maoists. The police are unable to enter the forests to locate the chopper. Officials believe it fell down,” Varlyani said.

“It is a complete failure of the BJP government and raises a question mark about its competence,” he said.

The Chhattisgarh government has announced a cash reward of Rs.200,000 to anyone providing information about the chopper.

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