Bhubaneswar: The Odisha police on Monday seized the helicopter and hangar of former Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda on charges of making an undeclared landing in Chilika Lake on September 15.
Earlier in the day, Assistant Conservator of Forests of the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) Binod Acharya had lodged a complaint in this regard at Marine Police Station in Arakhkuda in Puri. The FIR mentioned about unauthorised flying of a chopper at a dangerous level, endangering the life and property of tourists, fishermen and locals.
“Such unauthorised flying over ‘No Flying Eco Sensitive Zone’ is causing hovering over the water making the atmosphere noxious and fouling the Chilika Lake water, damaging the navigation route,” the complaint read.
Confirming the news, Puri SP Sarthak Sarangi said that the matter is being investigated.
“There were three persons, including the former MP, in the helicopter when it took off after 10 to 15 minutes of staying on the lake water in a floating position,” the SP informed.
Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) Director SC Hota said that the hangar belonging to IMFA, a company run by Baijayant’s family, has been seized by the police to ascertain from Black Box data about its flight profile. “Also to check, if it has landed in Chilika or it has flown very low over the sanctuary,” he added.
Though Baijayant admitted having flown his helicopter the same day, he said it landed in Bhubaneswar at a different time, which can be checked from the ATC record.
The seaplane reportedly landed at Nanganashi Mouth of Chilika at 1.30 pm on Saturday leaving everyone in the locality confused and stunned. The chopper, Baijayant had tweeted, reached Bhubaneswar at 1.30 pm.
The former MP further said that he was being falsely implicated and dragged into a controversy. “Brazen attempt to handicap my movement around Odisha, but they can’t stop me,” he tweeted.