Monday, April 23, 2012

Police, Capital Development Authority lock horns over Bhoja air crash probe: Boeing 737-200, AP-BKC, Flight B4-213, Islamabad, Pakistan


ISLAMABAD - The Islamabad police have been accusing some senior officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA) of ‘deliberately’ tampering with the evidences recovered from the site of the tragic Bhoja airlines plane crash that killed all 127 passengers on board.

The police suspect that some high officials of the CDA opened the seal of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recovered by the CDA from the site of the plane crash. A CVR holds the record of the last 30 minutes’ conversation between the pilot and control tower. A senior police official told Pakistan Today that the CDA chairman illegally kept the CVR at his home for more than 24 hours, which raises some serious questions. However, CDA Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal, when contacted, categorically denied this allegation.

Meanwhile, a CDA official on Monday handed over the CVR to the police. Initially, the police refused to take the CVR as its seals were broken. However, later, after the intervention of the police high-ups, Koral police took the CVR into its custody but mentioned in its daily crime diary that the CVR had broken seals.

Reportedly, the police refused to accept the device from the CDA officials, stating that its seals were broken. The police further stated that it was a sensitive issue and the civic body should have been handed the CVR over to the police at once after finding it from the site as it was the second most important evidence after the black box, to find the reasons behind the crash.

The report said that the rescue operation of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Group Captain Mujahid were also among the police when they were in search of the crucial evidences but they could not find it as the CDA had already taken it from the site.

On the other hand, CDA Chairman Engineer Farkhand Iqbal told Pakistan Today that such accusations were made just to get the credit as the CDA, after finding the cockpit voice recorder, handed it over to the group captain of the CAA. He said that it was baseless to say that the CDA had tempered with the CVR, adding that they handed it over to the CAA in its original form after the plane crash incident. “I had not kept it for 24 hours at my home, it is totally a false allegation,” said the CDA chief.

He said that according to the standing operating procedure (SOP), it was the responsibility of the agency which found any clue from the site of the plane crash to hand it over to the officials concerned of the CAA. “That’s why I did the same and handed the CVR over to the CAA instead of giving it to the police and I have written proof of it,” Farkhand said, clarifying that the CDA had not broken the seals of CVR.