Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ragging in top flying school, 2 expelled

India's premier pilot training institute, Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi (IGRUA), which functions under the aegis of Ministry of Civil Aviation, has been hit by a ragging scandal. The IGRUA management last month terminated two senior pilot cadets for their alleged involvement in a serious case of ragging, in which a junior cadet was subjected to cruelty and mental harassment. The junior cadet was also threatened with dire consequences when he made a formal complaint.

In July this year, pilot cadet Venu Madhvan complained to Director IGRUA, who instituted a board of inquiry, which found the complaint to be correct. On a surprise check, conducted by the management, the culprits were allegedly found to be heavily drunk and indulged in abusive behavior. When contacted, Director IGRUA Air Marshal AK Verma said that the two cadets have been terminated from the course for their involvement in ragging. “The complainant boy was feeling threatened and mentally harassed, so we decided to terminate Ishan Singh and Aditya Gupta from the course,” he said, adding that both of them have logged more than 100 flying hours.

 In the meantime, inquiries revealed that one of the accused is a habitual offender and was earlier terminated for alleged drug abuse. Air Marshal Verma confirmed that Ishan Singh was earlier suspended for drug abuse. On December 2, 2011, The Indian Express had reported that six cadets, including two Afghan nationals, were sacked for alleged drug use. The urine samples of cadets had tested positive for marijuana. Both consumption and possession of marijuana is illegal and can attract imprisonment from six months to 10 years.

The cadets were enrolled in the 200-hour training for Commercial Pilot License (CPL). Most of these cadets are said to have completed a “substantial” part of the course for which the fees are an estimated Rs 25 lakh per head. IGRUA falls in the Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency represented by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is on its governing council. The IGRUA council, under the chairmanship of Secretary, Civil Aviation had recently decided to set up an international aviation university and a helicopter-training institute.

The institute offers a range of courses, including the Commercial Pilot License course, refresher courses for flying instructors and simulator training. It also provides pilot training to the Indian Airlines, paramilitary and defence forces.

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