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BSF Plane crash: He was the best pilot around, say friends


According to a nephew, Bhatt’s wife got the news of the crash as it flashed across the television in the morning. Her worst fears were confirmed as an official from the Border Security Force came by to confirm the news. “He was very dedicated to his family and a very jovial person,” recalls a batch mate who had come to offer his condolences.

There was a curious crowd of onlookers that comprised local residents, family members and colleagues outside Deputy Commandant Bhagwati Prasad Bhatt’s Sarojini Nagar residence. The small cramped hall is jammed with relatives and well-wishers, while a young boy of three is running around with his friends, oblivious of the fact that his father is never coming home. Bhatt’s wife is inconsolable even as their youngest – a toddler all of 1.5 years sleeps beside her.According to a nephew, Bhatt’s wife got the news of the crash as it flashed across the television in the morning. Her worst fears were confirmed as an official from the Border Security Force came by to confirm the news. “He was very dedicated to his family and a very jovial person,” recalls a batch mate who had come to offer his condolences.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Bhatt was the baby in a family that had four brothers and three sisters. “He always wanted to do something different,” says older brother Rajendra, as he fondly recalled their childhood. “Initially he was interested in modelling, though we convinced him otherwise,” he added.Hailing from Uttarakhand, Bhatt grew up in the foothills of the Himalayas, though his higher schooling was in Dehradun. He joined the General Cadre of the Armed Forces and later on got his commercial flying licence from Rae Baireli.There is much anger among the batchmates who had gathered to mourn the demise of their friend. They could not forget Vivek Chaudhary – another batchmate of theirs who suffered a similar fate near Mount Abu almost four years ago. Their association with Bhatt goes back almost 15 years and his death has deeply saddened them.Bhatt – who married his love in 2008 – was posted in Delhi since 2009, when he got his position in the air wing of the BSF. “He was the best pilot around,” echo his friends.Inside the house, the wife has quietened down a bit, exhausted, “he was my strength,” she keeps repeating, tears rolling down her face. “You have to go on,” her friends try to console her, “For your kids, you must take his strength and go on.”The scene at Chotte Lal Sharma’s Sarojini Nagar residence – he was one of the 10 that died in the air crash, is one of caution. Sharma’s brother-in-law Pradeep Sharma said, “We haven’t informed my sister yet. We have simply told her that her husband has met with an accident and he is lying critical in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).” The official phone call confirming the Sharma’s death went to his son Somesh. He too has kept his mother in the dark about his father’s fate.A neighbour recalls, “I would see him (Sharma) every morning before he left for work. He would always say ‘”Please on the lookout and make sure my family is okay.” The neighbour added, “I didn’t see him this morning.”For C L Bhalothia, the morning news of the air crash put him on the edge since he knew his friend Ravindra Kumar, SI (JAM) was on that flight. All he could remember was Kumar telling him “I’m off now, I will see you when I return,” the day before. That was the last time Bhalothia spoke to his friend and colleague of more than a decade.Various colleagues from his department rushed to the spot and confirmed the worst. “The minute I saw the news, I tried to call him on his mobile, it just kept ringing,” Bhalothia recalls. “I could sense something was wrong,” he added. “After a while, the operator message said that the ‘Phone is out of coverage area’, he said.Now came the worst part, Kumar’s family had heard about the crash on the news in the morning, though, it was up to Bhalothia to confirm their worst fears. Bhalotia and his wife immediately made their way to Kumar’s Lodhi Road colony house. Here Bhalothia’s wife is consoling Kumar’s wife Manorama, while Kumar’s children – a son – he is in Class 10 and a daughter – who is studying in the final year of B.Tech, helpless look on. A kindly neighbour is seen bringing trays of teas for the visitors who have come to grieve and offer their support. “Kumar was always seen with a smile on his face and he was always happy,” Bhalothia recalls as he wipes his tears away with his white handkerchief.Kumar, who hailed from Gaya, Bihar, joined the BSF in August 2006 after he retired as a mechanic in the VVIP squadron from the air force. Two younger brothers and his immediate family comprising of his wife and two kids survive him. In the evening, when one tried to call Kumar’s mobile number, the operator message said that the cell phone seemed to be switched off.

8,500 letters received by Mahatma Gandhi to be published

“Researchers and scholars have for long felt the need to transcribe and publish the letters and other forms of communication received by Gandhiji so as to be able to understand his response to them more completely or else it is one-way traffic,” Director of Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, Tridip Sharud, said

Mahatma Gandhi
File Photo

In an effort to provide greater insight into Mahatma Gandhi’s exchange of views with the greats of his time, Sabarmati Ashram has taken up a mammoth task to transcribe and publish over 8,500 letters received by him.Though the Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi (CWMG) has in detail documented more than 31,000 available letters written by Gandhi during his life time, but the letters received by him which solicited his response have not been documented so far.”Researchers and scholars have for long felt the need to transcribe and publish the letters and other forms of communication received by Gandhiji so as to be able to understand his response to them more completely or else it is one-way traffic,” Director of Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust, Tridip Sharud, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The publishing of letters received by Gandhiji would bring to the fore the exchanges between him and the greats of his time such as Romain Rolland, Rabindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Madeleine Slade (Mirabehn) and Esther Faering, creating documents of great historic value.”The CWMG, a 100-volume electronic documentation of Gandhiji’s speeches, editorials and other writings compiled painstakingly over 38 years, contains over 31,000 letters, telegrams, and cables that Gandhji wrote to others,” Sharud said.”The editorial design of CWMG does not permit the inclusion of letters or other forms of communication which Gandhiji received and responded to,” Sharud said. “The Sabarmati Ashram has in its archives over 8,500 letters and other communications to Gandhiji. These letters are mainly in English, Gujarati and Hindi,” he said.”Notable among them are his exchanges with Rolland, Tagore, Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Mirabehn and Esther Faering,” he said.”The ashram proposes to transcribe and publish these letters. The organisation and editorial design of these volumes would mirror that of the CWMG and thus, they would potentially become companion volumes, albeit as a separate series,” he said.”These compilations have proved to be an invaluable source of biographical and historical inquiry,” he said.

Sunanda Pushkar died of poisoning: AIIMS report

The final medical report by AIIMS in the mysterious death of Sunanda Pushkar says that she died of poisoning, administered either through oral route or injection and the injuries on her barring one were a result of a “scuffle”, according to the police FIR lodged in this case.The report rules out “natural cause” while noting out that all the 15 injuries found on her, except ‘injury number 10’ (an injection mark), were caused by blunt force and non-contributing to death.All the injuries mentioned are caused by “blunt force, simple in nature, non-contributing to death and are produced in scuffle, except injury number 10 which is an injection mark,” it said.Injury number 12 is a teeth bite mark. The injuries number 1 to 15 is of various duration ranging from 12 hours to 4 days,” says the FIR registered as a murder case at Sarojini Nagar Police Station.The autopsy board, in its final report submitted to police on December 29, has concluded that “it is not a natural death and the poisoning is through oral route. However, injectable route too also can’t be ruled out.” The FIR also states how the post mortem report had indicated toward “alprazolam poisoning” while the forensic report by CFSL and FSL Rohini completely contradicted it by ruling it out.”The post mortem of the deceased was conducted at AIIMS, New Delhi on 18 January by an Autopsy Board of three forensic doctors at AIIMS.”The Autopsy Board opined that the cause of death to the best of its knowledge and belief in this case is poisoning.The circumstantial evidences are suggestive of alprazolam poisoning,” the FIR said.Sundna, 51, was found dead in a five-star hotel on January 17 last year.According to the FIR, on January 17 last year at about 9 PM a telephonic call was received by Inspector Atul Sood, the then SHO of Sarojini Nagar from Abhinav Kumar, PS to Tharoor, the then Minister of State of HRD that Sunanda had done something in Room No.345, Hotel Leela Palace, New Delhi.Acting on this information, Sood along with staff went to the spot where Sunanda was found dead inside the bedroom of the suite.Preliminary enquiries at the spot showed that she had checked into this Hotel on January 15 at 1748 hours, the FIR said.As it emerged that Sunanda had died within seven years of her marriage, Alok Sharma, SDM Vasant Vihar, was informed who inspected the place of occurrence and conducted Inquest Proceedings under section 176 CrPC.Sharma examined the witnesses and the relatives of the deceased and recorded their statements, it said.Director CFSL, Lodhi Road New Delhi, along with team also visited the scene of crime. The scene of crime was video graphed/photographed by the Crime Team/South District as well as CFSL Team.The exhibits were lifted by the CFSL Team from the spot and the scene of occurrence was preserved and the body was moved for post mortem, it said.”The circumstantial evidences are suggestive of alprazolam poisoning,” it said.The Autopsy Report was handed over to SDM, Vasant Vihar on January 20.Sharma then sent his inquest proceedings report to SHO/Sarojini Nagar with the remarks, “In view of the examination of post mortem report where the cause of death is poisoning, you are directed to further investigate the matter thoroughly and take action as per law.”You are further directed to request the Director CFSL for early report of Viscera examination.” “As per the directions, police then sent the Viscera, clothes and medicines found on the spot to CFSL, Lodhi Road, for examination.The Viscera analysis report was received from CFSL, New Delhi on March 10 and the same was sent to autopsy board, AIIMS.After the perusal of CFSL report, the Autopsy Board, AIIMS, sought some more information which included quantitative estimation of various chemicals/compounds in different viscera and exhibits, presence/absence of saliva in various swabs taken from hands and epithelial cells from nails and any other circumstantial evidence, statement, photos taken at the scene of the crime so as to give holistic and comprehensive opinion in the case, said the FIR.”In compliance of the directions the exhibits/swabs were sent to CFSL, Lodhi Road, in April last year to verify the presence/absence of Saliva while foreign material/epithelial cells and other exhibits were sent to FSL, Rohini for quantitative analysis of chemicals,” said the FIR.The report from CFSL, Lodhi Road said the presence of Saliva and foreign material was not detected.The report from FSL, Rohini was also obtained and both these reports were sent to the Autopsy Board, AIIMS.It was after this that the Autopsy Board gave subsequent medical opinion in September, which was its second report in which opined “the cause of death in the case is poisoning”.”Viscera are positive for ethyl alcohol, caffeine, acetaminophen and cotinine.The medical board reserved the comment on specific poison/chemical since there is a lot of limitation on viscera report,” the report had said.The report was termed “inconclusive” by the Delhi Police, following which the Autopsy Board further required that a few of other medico-legal points need to be addressed by the Investigating Officer since the circumstantial information are essential for medical opinion.”In response to the information sought by the Board, photographs of the scene of crime, statements of witnesses and relatives, e mails etc. were provided with a request that the Board members may visit the scene of crime to collect any object/material from the scene of occurrence which may be of any importance for medical examination and conclusive opinion in the post mortem report as the scene of occurrence was still preserved,” the FIR said.The Autopsy Board members, along with CFSL expert team, visited the scene of occurrence on November 5 last year and lifted exhibits from there. Seized exhibits were sent to CFSL, Lodhi Road for chemical examination, it said.The report in this regard was received on December 24 and the same was sent to the Autopsy Board along with other relevant treatment papers related to the deceased on the same day, according to the FIR.The latest report from the Autopsy board in this matter has been received on December 29 in which the Autopsy Board has opined that all above medical documents given by the IO and detailed post-mortem report, including HPE, conclude that the deceased Sunanda Pushkar was neither ill nor had any disease prior to her death.”She was a normal healthy individual. In view of the above analysis, the death due to natural cause is ruled out in this case. The cause of death in this case is poisoning.”The poisoning is through oral route, however injectable route too also can’t be ruled out,” the FIR quotes the final report as saying.In view of this latest report, a case under section 302 IPC is made out, said the FIR adding “therefore a case under Section 302 of IPC has been registered.