The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) transferred its director of flying training on Friday, two days after allegations of corruption emerged against him. Capt. Anil Gill, who earlier headed the directorate of flying training, has been discharged from that duty and has now been reassigned to the aerosports department, according to the DGCA’s order.
The aviation regulator received a detailed complaint on Wednesday, in which multiple allegations were levelled against Gill by a whistleblower who accused him of “taking entire planes and aircrafts as bribe in quid pro quo for extending favours”. Notably, the complaint, which was sent via email, had asked for the transfer of the flying training director before initiating an investigation into the alleged wrongdoings.
The letter accessed by Outlook Business stated, “No enquiry or investigation can fairly take place without transferring Anil Gill from this directorate.”
The Directorate of Flying Training (DFT) is responsible for the approval of flying training organisations in the country that can issue commercial pilot licenses. The primary allegation against the former DFT chief is that he allowed flying training organisations (FTOs) to get away with violations of established guidelines in return for bribes. These violations included safety lapses that resulted in multiple aircraft accidents, according to the complaint.
A questionnaire sent to the DGCA regarding the allegations remain unanswered. This story will be updated once the regulator issues an official response on this matter.
Allegations Of Corruption And Money Laundering
The complaint letter detailed a sophisticated mechanism through which Capt. Gill allegedly carried out corruption worth several crores. This includes a network of ‘benami’ aviation companies that were supposedly used to accept aircraft as bribes which were later leased out to select FTOs.
Such leased out aircraft were then over-logged by FTOs that are in connivance with the former DFT chief to generate huge returns for the ‘benami’ companies, the letter alleged. The complaint put down how over-invoicing or over-logging was carried out by all parties involved. The letter also levelled allegations of money laundering against Gill.
Interestingly, the complaint alleged that two out of the three aircraft accepted by Gill as bribe, were leased out to Redbird Flight Training Academy, a Delhi-based FTO whose operations across all its bases were indefinitely suspended by the DGCA earlier this week. The regulator cited repeated safety concerns as the reason behind suspension.
Redbird operates its training facility across five locations in India and one in Sri Lanka. The suspension came on the back of five accidents that took place at Redbird Academy in the last six months. The DGCA already stated that it will carry out an audit of the maintenance practices followed at Redbird.