Sunday, March 11, 2012

Private Complaint filed before Mangalore JMFC II reg. 22-5-2010 Mangalore Air Crash - TOI News

The Mangalore Air Crash of May 22, 2010 was all about compensation. It got a new twist with Yeshwanth Shenoy, a legal consultant to National Biodiversity Authority, and president of 812 Foundation, filing a private complaint at the JMFC II Court here naming 15 persons including Air India (AI), Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Airports Authority of India (AAI) for the court to take cognizance of the offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code and Aircraft Rules 1937, for various lapses. The case has been admitted by the court and will be heard on April 23.

In an interview to TOI, Shenoy claims the victims' families have been cheated over compensation and the final agreements on compensation to victims' families arrived at by Air India will not stand the test of law, if challenged.


Q) Almost two years after the crash, you have filed this Private Complaint. What motivated you to do this?

A) Human Life! 158 lives for the negligence of government officials is unacceptable. People argue that train accidents take more lives, but that does not justify this.

Q) Many victims' families have signed final settlement agreement with AI. AI says that these cases will not be reopened. Is there anything foundation can do?

A) AI is not the Supreme Court. I will challenge the legality of these agreements. In my opinion, these agreements will not stand the test of law if challenged. AI in a written reply to my RTI Application has stated the lawyer has taken instruction from insurance companies. How can Air India lawyer take instruction from Insurance Company? People fail to realise that to get justice, you need to demand justice and make yourself heard. There are many families hoping to ride on the matter pending before the Supreme Court. If all represent before the Supreme Court, the Court will be better placed to know the seriousness of the matter. The families can approach 812 Foundation for free legal assistance.

Q)The victims' families are having a tough time in getting compensation; will this impact compensation pay outs?

A) What is happening with compensation payouts is cheating. People did not have proper legal representation or advice. They need money quickly to rebuild their lives and this is being taken advantage by AI. People perceive they have no choice against slow legal machinery. Proper legal advice and strategy will ensure quick settlements. I intend to interfere in the matter before theSupreme Court and bring to its attention various aspects and I am confident that the Court will come down heavily against AI.

Q) You submitted before the Magistrate that you do not need investigation by police and have enough evidence to prosecute?

A) I see no point in a police investigation. The Investigating officer (IO) of the accident filed a charge sheet on February 13, 2012 and did not find anything. In the past 18 months, I made several RTI applications which were stonewalled by government officials. I am sure the sad story of corrupt officials killing innocent people will come out. I like to call it negligence, but in fact it is murder.

Q) Why 812 Foundation? The Victims Association is already there? Why this parallel association?

A) 812 Foundation is a Trust and not an Association. 812 have larger goals and will work on aviation Safety in general in India. I have realised there is no organisation that works on Aviation Safety and I decided to fill that void. To fight the might of the State, you need strong individuals and good professionals.

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