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Budgam crash: Commanding officer of IAF's Srinagar base shifted

The Indian Air Force has transferred the Air Officer Commanding  of Srinagar base as a court of inquiry steps up probe into the crash of an Mi-17 helicopter in Budgam due to suspected friendly fire on February 27  the day Indian and Pakistani air forces were engaged in a fierce dogfight, official sources said Tuesday. 

They said officials responsible for the crash will face sever punishment as per provisions of the military law. The senior-most official of the Srinagar base was removed to ensure impartial probe into the crash, the sources said.The helicopter crashed in Budgam on February 27 when Indian and Pakistani fighter jets were engaged in an aerial combat, a day after India's airstrike on a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist training camp in Pakistan's Balakot. The Pakistani Air Force had unsuccessfully attempted to target various Indian military installations in Kashmir on February 27.

Sources said the CoI was also specifically focusing on examining role of various people including those controlling the air defence system when the helicopter was hit by a surface-to-air missile.They said the IAF will initiate action based on the report of the CoI which could include charging the guilty with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The sources said the CoI was also examining whether the Identification of Friend or Foe (IFF) system onboard the helicopter was switched off. The IFF helps air defence radars to identify whether an aircraft or helicopter is friendly or hostile.

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