Court acquits two accused in Ambani helicopter sabotage case

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 18:08

Mumbai: A local court on Tuesday acquitted two
persons accused of sabotaging business tycoon Anil Ambani`s
helicopter in April last year, due to lack of evidence.

Uday Wanekar (32) and Palraj Thewar (38) were arrested
for allegedly planting pebbles and gravels in the combined
gear box of the helicopter owned by Ambani on April 23 last
year, while it was parked in the hanger of Airworks Indian
Engineering Ltd for maintenance.
According to the prosecution, the duo, employed as
helpers in Airworks, tried to sabotage the helicopter to cause
wrongful loss and damage to Airworks following a dispute with
the management.

"There was constant dispute between the management and
union members including the two accused of Airworks. The duo
wanted to take revenge and create trouble for the company,"
public prosecutor Pradip Gharat had argued.

Additional sessions judge M V Kulkarni, however,
disbelieved the prosecution theory and acquitted the two after
observing that the benefit of doubt is given to the accused.

The two were booked under the Suppression of Unlawful
Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act and under various
sections of IPC.

The case dates back to April 23 last year when
technicians Bharat Borge and Ramshankar Chauhan had during
inspection and refuelling found the filler cap of the gear box
fitted on the reverse side. When the cap was opened, they
found stones and soil inside.

The prosecution had examined 12 witnesses in the case
including Chauhan and other technicians and aviation experts.

According to a report submitted by DGCA, gravel of
about half an inch was found blocked at the valve located in
the neck of the sump through which the oil passes from the oil
filler cap to the oil tank.
"Although the fact that there was pebbles and gravel
was proved by the prosecution, they could not prove that it
was Wanekar and Thewar who had put them in the gear box,"
defence lawyer Vinayak Bichoo said, adding there was no eye
witness to support the prosecution`s case.

According to Bichoo, Wanekar and Thewar were falsely
implicated in the case by Airworks who wanted an excuse to
remove them from the company.

The defence lawyer had also pointed out to the court
the mysterious death of key witness Borge just four days after
the complaint was lodged. Borge had died after being crushed
under a local suburban train.

"The police did not even bother to investigate Borge`s
death in connection with this case. All this has been done by
the management of Airworks and Borge was under tremendous
mental pressure prior to his suspicious death," Bichoo
alleged.

Both Wanekar and Thewar, who were arrested in May last
year, were released on bail by the Bombay High Court in
November last.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 18:08

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