14 years since Mangaluru air crash: A tragic day in aviation history

News Network
May 22, 2024

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Mangaluru: Fourteen years ago today, on a fateful day in May, the city of Mangaluru was struck by a tragedy that sent ripples of grief and anguish across the nation. This catastrophic event not only shook the aviation industry to its core but also left an indelible scar on the hearts of countless families and the local community.

On May 22, 2010, an Air India Express flight crashed while attempting to land at Mangaluru International Airport, claiming the lives of 158 souls on board. The ill-fated flight, carrying 160 passengers and six crew members, was en route from Dubai to Mangaluru when disaster struck.

As the aircraft approached the runway, it overshot the landing, plunging down a steep hill and bursting into flames upon impact. The horror of the crash sent shockwaves through the nation, as families, friends, and the community were engulfed in mourning for their lost loved ones.

Rescue teams, including firefighters, police personnel, and medical professionals, rushed to the scene, but the inferno and treacherous terrain made their efforts harrowing and heart-wrenchingly difficult. The intense fire consumed the aircraft, leaving little hope for survival.

In the aftermath, investigations revealed a series of devastating errors and misjudgments that led to the tragedy. The airport’s tabletop runway design, with its perilous steep gradient at the end, was a critical factor in the disaster. Analysis of the plane’s black box further unveiled that the chief pilot, Captain Zlatko Glusica, bore significant responsibility. Despite urgent warnings from his co-pilot, First Officer Ahluwalia, Captain Glusica proceeded with the ill-fated landing, sealing the doomed fate of the flight.

Today, as we commemorate this solemn occasion, families and friends of the victims gather to pay their respects at the memorial erected near the crash site. This memorial stands as a poignant reminder of the precious lives lost and the profound grief that lingers. It also underscores the imperative for continued improvements in aviation safety, to prevent such heart-rending tragedies from ever happening again.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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Nagpur: The Nagpur district court on Monday handed life imprisonment to former BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd engineer Nishant Agarwal under the Official Secrets Act for spying for Pakistan's intelligence agency ISI.

Agarwal will also have to undergo rigorous imprisonment (RI) for 14 years and was also fined ₹ 3,000.

Additional sessions court judge MV Deshpande stated in the order that Agarwal was convicted under section 235 of the Criminal Procedure Code for an offence punishable under section 66 (f) of the IT Act and various sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

"The court sentenced Agarwal to life imprisonment and RI for 14 years under the Official Secrets Act and fined him ₹ 3,000," said Special Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani.

Agarwal, employed in the technical research section of the company's missile centre in Nagpur, was arrested in a joint operation by the military intelligence and Anti-terrorism squads (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra in 2018.

The former BrahMos Aerospace engineer was booked under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code and the stringent OSA.

He had worked at the Brahmos facility for four years and was accused of leaking sensitive technical information to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture between the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the military Industrial Consortium (NPO Mashinostroyenia) of Russia.

Agarwal was granted bail by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court last April.

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News Network
June 17,2024

An Indian expatriate working in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk, has been cleared of allegations related to a hacker's scam and is now permitted to return to India for leave. The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, hails from the outskirts of Mangaluru city in Karnataka.

Employed by the Greek company for nearly three years, he had been diligently performing his duties. On November 15, 2022, he received a call from an individual pretending to be an officer from the Saudi Arabian Interior Ministry. The “officer” informed him that his Iqama (Residency Permit) was about to expire and sent him an OTP (One-Time Password) to validate it. Trusting the caller’s identity, the man accepted the OTP and continued his work without issues until he planned to take a vacation.

On September 30, 2023, while traveling from Tabuk to Jeddah International Airport for his flight to India, he was contacted by his company and instructed to return to Tabuk because his exit re-entry had not been processed due to a case against his Iqama.

Upon his return, he discovered that SAR 17,000 had been withdrawn from a citizen’s bank account through his account. The man had no knowledge of this transaction and did not have any money in his account. Recalling the OTP incident from a year earlier, he realized he had been a victim of a cyber-scam.

A case was filed against him at the concerned police station, and he made a clear statement to the police about the incident. After an investigation lasting more than nine months, he was exonerated and is now allowed to go on leave to India.

The man expressed his gratitude to all those who supported him during the ordeal, including the authorities, his company, and social workers advocate P. A. Hameed Padubidri and Naufal Mulky for their unwavering support and constant follow-up.

This incident serves as a stark warning to other expatriates: be cautious and vigilant against unknown callers and unsolicited requests for sensitive information.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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Bengaluru: The ruling Congress in Karnataka has improved its tally by winning nine seats while the BJP and JD(S) combine emerged victorious in 19 constituencies in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP won 17 seats and the JD(S) secured victory in two constituencies.

The BJP, on its own, won 17 seats, making it a happy camper as Karnataka voters continued their trend (since 2004) of giving the saffron party the highest number of Lok Sabha seats in the state. The JD(S) won two out of the three seats it contested.

Out of nine seats won by the Congress, five are in Kalyana Karnataka region. Interestingly, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, during Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s first term, the Congress won nine seats while the BJP won 17 and JD(S) two seats.

Congress, which stormed to power with a huge majority in the Assembly polls last year, was bullish on winning more than 10 seats, which it did last in 1999.

“We didn’t get the result we expected. We wanted 15-20 seats. Our calculations went wrong,” Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said. His deputy DK Shivakumar, who is also Karnataka Congress president, was more candid. “We expected more seats - 14 to 15 - because of the guarantees. We expected more votes for the work we’ve done. That didn’t happen,” he said.

Admittedly, the Congress’ guarantees, around which the party had designed its Lok Sabha poll campaign in Karnataka, failed to yield the desired electoral benefits.

Also, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar faced setbacks as Congress lost Mysore (CM’s native) and Bangalore Rural (where BJP defeated Shivakumar's brother DK Suresh).

But Congress has something to cheer about. Besides winning nine seats, the Congress’ vote share in Karnataka is up from 31.88% to 45.34%.

The result came in handy for the BJP to go after the ruling Congress. “The Siddaramaiah-Shivakumar government was arrogant for having 136 MLAs. People have taught them a lesson. Neither their MLAs nor the guarantees helped Congress,” Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka said.

Faced with an aggressive Congress, the BJP got the help it needed from the JD(S). Going by the result, the BJP-JD(S) alliance worked well on the ground as both parties gave their votes to each other.

The JD(S), struggling for survival after its near-rout in the Assembly polls last year, will view the Lok Sabha result as the battery it needed to recharge. “The result is the people’s reply to those who arrogantly chided JD(S) for having only 19 MLAs,” JD(S) state president HD Kumaraswamy said.

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