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Gen Bipin Rawat was on his way to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, in Tamil Nadu, when the Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed | File Photo

IAF’s senior-most helicopter pilot to head investigation into crash

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The Indian Air Force (IAF) said on Friday that an inquiry into the helicopter crash that killed the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others “would be completed expeditiously”.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Thursday that a tri-service inquiry has been ordered by the IAF and it will be headed by Air Marshal Manvendra Singh, Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief Training Command. Both the Houses of Parliament observed two minutes’ silence to pay tributes to those killed in the crash.

Manvendra Singh is the IAF’s senior-most helicopter pilot.

Urging that “uninformed speculation [on the cause of the accident] may be avoided”, the IAF on Friday said that “facts [would be] brought out soon”.

“IAF has constituted a tri-service Court of Inquiry to investigate the cause of the tragic helicopter accident on 08 Dec 21. The inquiry would be completed expeditiously & facts brought out. Till then, to respect the dignity of the deceased, uninformed speculation may be avoided,” an IAF statement on Twitter read.

Also read: Gen Rawat: The man who rose through ranks to become country’s first CDS

Gen Rawat’s funeral will be held in Delhi on Friday with full military honours.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and many other leaders visited his home today to offer condolences.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday led tributes as all 13 bodies were flown back to Delhi on a C130-J Super Hercules aircraft from Tamil Nadu, where the crash took place.

Gen Rawat, along with others, was on his way to Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, in Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday to address the faculty and students when the Mi-17V5 helicopter crashed, just minutes before landing.

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