IAF officer’s parents seek probe into son’s death, Kerala MPs to take it up

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Thiruvananthapuram, July 6 (IANS) Keeping political affiliations aside, Kerala MPs are to take up in Parliament a demand by the parents of an IAF officer for probe into his death in a Sukhoi air crash on the India-China border on May 23.

The parents, a retired ISRO scientist and his wife, say the coffin of their son, Flt. Lt. Achu Dev, was empty and they have written to the Prime Minister on the issue.

Speaking to IANS, CPI-M Lok Sabha member A. Sampath said the issue was discussed by the MPs who attended a meeting called by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan here on Thursday, ahead of the upcoming Parliament session.

“The grieving father came to me raising serious doubts over the manner in which the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Defence Ministry handled the case. The coffin that came here to his home was empty. I have already taken this up at all the levels in Delhi.

“The parents have also written to the Prime Minister and others. Their demand is valid and they want a proper response on the entire incident,” said Sampath.

The 26-year-old Flt. Lt. Achu Dev and Squadron Leader D. Pankaj were killed after their Sukhoi-30 fighter jet crashed on the India-China border on May 23.

Speaking to IANS, grieving father V.P. Sahadevan said after hearing about the crash they had gone to the Eastern Air Command in Tezpur, Assam.

“After a few days, we were told that the two officers are dead. Thereafter, when the coffin was brought here, I was told that the coffin is empty. I could not believe it, but then I accepted it and went ahead with the other formalities.

“After that, I did raise this issue at all levels, but never got any conclusive reply from anywhere. We feel that our son is missing, as we are unable to accept that he has passed away,” said the retired scientist.

In his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 27, he wrote that he had every right to know if his son was alive or not.

If the IAF was unable to confirm where his remains were, then on what basis did it reach the conclusion that he is dead, asked Sahadevan.

He said it was mysterious that his son’s wallet, which was found from the site of accident, was almost intact.

“A court of inquiry is currently on, but I have my own doubts…in all likelihood, the report will only match what the IAF has been saying about this accident.

“We, therefore, want that a probe either by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or any such national agency be undertaken to find out what exactly happened,” added Sahadevan.

Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala has also written to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to see that the grieving family gets justice.

–IANS

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