THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: "In the absence of any consistent, corroborative and conclusive material evidence of the bodily remains, my family is unable to accept the demise of my son as informed by the authorities. We still believe that he is missing," says Sahadevan VP, father of Keralite Sukhoi pilot Flight Lieutenant S Achudev, who went missing on regular sortie at Tezpur Air Force Station.
A month after the 'mortal remains' of S Achudev were brought home, his family has rejected the official version of the incident. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Achudev's father has sought a simultaneous investigation by an external agency such as the CBI/NIA/RAW/IB to unfold the mystery behind the incident and to bring out the truth.
Raising six questions to the Prime Minister, Sahadevan said these questions have already been raised to the authorities, but none of which have been addressed so far. Here's the text:
"I am to state that the following are some fundamental questions which I have already raised to the authorities concerned, none of which unfortunately have been addressed so far.
1. I have every privilege to know if my son is alive or not. If he's alive, where is he and under what circumstances? If the Indian Air Force confirms otherwise, where is the remains of his body which can rationally confirm this? Else, on what basis have the Indian Air Force reached this conclusion?
2. If the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the reported Sukhoi aircraft was retrieved,
a. What were the findings on the analysis of the same?
b. What was the details of the last recorded voice conversation between the Control/Commanding Centre and the pilots?
c. Based on the FDR/CVR data findings which should have revealed further details into the incident, why did no further search and rescue operation occur?
3. If the aircraft was said to have lost radio and radar contact with the control/command centre
a. Where did this occur and what was the reason for the same?
b. How long after being airborne did this happen and in what direction were they bound to, during this course?
c. If the sortie as quoted by the Ministry of Defence was a twin aircraft formation, was there any communication between the missing aircraft and the other aircraft. What was the account of events as per the pilots of the paired aircraft?
4. What material evidences have been used to conclude that both the pilots could not initiate ejection as stated by the Ministry of Defence?
5. It its learnt that the helicopter commenced after one hour of the missing was reported and the massive ground search operation started two days after the incident. With regard to this, please confirm
a. What is the protocol in place at the Indian Air Force to search for the missing
pilots and aircrafts?
b. What is the current status of the search in this case?
6. Were the ISRO's technology and the aid of foreign satellite imagery utilised?
a. Why was ISRO's satellite service not employed for surveillance during the search and rescue operations in this strategic area close to the Indo-Chinese border? Cartosat satellites are served for cartographic applications in all adverse conditions.
b. What was the reason for not seeking the aid of foreign satellite imagery during the incident to find the missing pilots and aircraft?
In view of the fact that the aforementioned fundamental questions have not yet been addressed and not having received any logical or rational material evidence, I cannot take into account the present enquiry justifying the statement of Air Force officials on this heartbreaking incident.
As much as we are proud that he served the Indian Air Force away from us, he is my family's greatest asset. With his inconsolable mother awaiting Achudev's return each and every moment by my side, I sincerely request with the highest faith to initiate all possible effort to trade my son Flt Lt Achudev S at the earliest.
I request that effective search activities should be continued till the missing pilots are located or scientific evidence/result on the remains of the body of the pilots are traced out.
Please ensure that there is active involvement and guidance from agencies under the local government and police forces along with local tribes and natives under the guidance of the defence forces.
Given the contradicting and inconclusive information provided to me by the Indian Air Force, I am highly dissatisfied with the planning and execution of the search operations carried out for the missing pilots and extremely unconvinced by the conclusions reached in this incident.
Under these circumstances, I humbly request that a simultaneous investigation by an appropriate external agency like CBI/NIA/RAW/IB may be directed to unfold the mystery and to reveal the truth of the unfortunate incident."