In a major setback to the Indian Air Force, a US-made C-130J Super Hercules Special Operations transport aircraft on Friday crashed near Gwalior killing all five people on board after taking off from the Agra air base.
A Super Hercules costed IAF around Rs 6000 crore (USD 1.1 billion) four years ago. (PTI photo)
“One C-130J aircraft crashed 72 miles (115 km) west of Gwalior air base. The aircraft was airborne from Agra at 1000 hours for a routine flying training mission. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to investigate into the cause of the accident,” an IAF spokesperson said.
Police in Jaipur said senior officials, including Superintendent of Police, Karauli, have rushed to the spot of the crash along Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh border.
India had recently inducted six C-130J Super Herculesaircraft, which were bought from the US at the cost of around Rs 6000 crore (USD 1.1 billion) four years ago. The home base of the 77 squadron ‘Veiled Vipers’ operating the aircraft is Hindan in Ghaziabad .
The aircraft were recently landed on the Daulat Beg Oldie air field near China border and have helped in boosting IAF’s capability to airlift troops closer to the borders in times of emergency.
Before the C-130J crash, the last time an IAF fixed wing transporter went down was in June 2009. Aircraft An-32 crashed after take off from Mechuka. 13 people were dead in that fatal accident.
If Supreme Court wants me to do that, I will do it, says Gavaskar
He has faced several daunting challenges in his playing career, and legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar is not shying away from the tough task of heading Indian cricket in these trying times.
The Supreme Court on Thursday proposed the former India captain’s name as replacement for N. Srinivasan as BCCI president and Gavaskar said if handed the responsibility, he would give it his best shot. "If the highest court suggests something, you have to do so but that has to be on record. I am currently contracted with BCCI as a commentator. But if Supreme Court wants me to do that, I will do it," Gavaskar said.
He said it would be a huge accolade if the apex court finds him worthy of such responsibility. "I will be happy to do what they ask me to do. It will be a huge honour that the Supreme Court feels I will be good enough to do the job. But let’s not jump the gun," he told a television channel.
"The honourable Supreme Court which is the highest court of the land thought it fit to think of me is a huge honour, it’s an incredible honour. Probably the greatest honour I have ever received in my career. At the moment it is just a suggestion from the honourable court. The BCCI will eventually take a call.".
Distressed with recent events related to the Indian Premier League, Gavaskar wants to set things right. "As an opening batsman, you have to be prepared for all kinds of challenges, you have to play on all kinds of pitches, you are always prepared for a challenge mentally and physically," he said.
The Supreme Court has proposed the suspension of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals till the betting and spot-fixing case reaches its logical conclusion.
"They have brought a lot of joy, so this observation will make cricket fans sad," Gavaskar said.
But he is not in favour of postponing the 2014 IPL. "You will have to sit down and think about it. I don’t know how it will help. When the fixing scandal broke out 14 years ago, cricket continued," Gavaskar argued.
"We need to put measures in place. There should be anti-corruption officials available for every team in IPL so that young players will know where to approach."
Gavaskar did not criticise Srinivasan despite his reluctance to step down even after the Supreme Court’s scathing observations.
"We need to understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. I would not be able to pass judgement on that. It is not my area. It is a completely different issue on which I have zero experience," the former opener who has often vehemently defended BCCI against what he considered unfair criticism from jealous entities, said.
"It is very sad that because of a few players who have compromised everybody gets a bad name. We have to remember that a great majority of the players are clean."
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