Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir State
Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has awarded damages to
the tune of Rs 2.35 crore to the legal heirs of two Amarnath
pilgrims killed in the crash of a state-owned helicopter in
A bench of the commission headed by Justice (Retd) G D
Sharma and member Shabnum Munshi yesterday directed the state
government and a private travel agency to pay the damages to
the legal heirs of Vineet Kedia and his wife, who were killed
in the crash.
The crash took place on August 5, 2003, killing pilot
Group Captain J S Kehlon and four Amarnath pilgrims including
the Kedia couple. The state-owned Bell 407 helicopter was
completely damaged in the crash.
Kehlon was also the Civil Aviation Commissioner of the
The complaint was filed before the Commission by R K
Jajodia, maternal grandfather of two minor sons of the Kedias.
"The award is made against the state government, the
present Civil Aviation department of the state government and
M/S Nidesh Tours and Travels which was engaged unauthorisedly
as booking agent for the copter sorties by the deceased pilot
in his capacity as Civil Aviation Commissioner," the
commission said in the order, adding the liability shall be
In case of non-payment of the award amount within two
months, interest shall be chargeable at the rate of six per
cent per annum till the liability is liquidated.
The Commission also directed the state Chief Secretary to
constitute a Committee of experts to enquire into the crash
and submit a report to the Commission within four months. It
also asked the committee to submit recommendations for taking
suitable legal action against the delinquents functionaries
within the "four corners of law".
"As some of the delinquent functionaries are responsible
for this crash and after their identification in the enquiry,
the state government is authorised to recover the amount of
the award from their pay or pension as the case may be," it