As India pays last respects today to General Bipin Rawat, the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff, the Air Force this afternoon said that an inquiry into the chopper crash that killed him and 12 others, including his wife, “would be completed expeditiously”.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told parliament on Thursday 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.
Urging that “uninformed speculation may be avoided”, the IAF today stressed 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,” a statement on Twitter read.
With funeral military honours, General Rawat’s funeral will be held in Delhi this evening.
Union Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and many other top leaders visited his Delhi 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.
Remembering him as “an outstanding soldier”, and “a true patriot”, the Prime Minister had earlier said that “India will never forget his exceptional service”.
General 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-17 V5 helicopter crashed, just minutes before landing.
The tragedy led to a massive outpour of tributes not just from India but all over the world.