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'No Naxal strike on AP CM's chopper'

Source: PTI
September 03, 2009 15:54 IST
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Ruling out the possibility of Naxals shooting down the helicopter of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Union Minister M M Pallam Raju on Thursday said the mishap that claimed Reddy's life took place due to bad weather.

"The possibility of a Naxal strike on the chief minister's helicopter is ruled out completely. It was an accident due to bad weather. There is no hand of Naxalites (in this incident)," Minister of State for Defence Raju said.

He said the wreckage of the helicopter, which crashed in Nallamalla forest area on Thursday, was traced with the help of Air Force fighter jet Su-30MKI's radar scan and with Indian Space Research Organisation's satellite images early this morning. Three helicopters that were pressed into service today morning reached the crash site.

Armed forces' commandos were air-dropped near the site, while other personnel reached the spot by foot, he said. Asked if the Air Force would help in the crash investigation, Raju said the Indian Air Force would not be involved and that the state authorities had taken over the probe into the accident.

On the inadequate night vision equipment wit the armed forces, the minister admitted that there was a need to have more of such equipment.

"Modernisation is certainly taking place. It is not as though the armed forces are bereft of night vision equipment. We certainly need them in more numbers," he added.

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