Bharat Bhushan, who was dismissed abruptly as the chief of airline regulator, the DGCA, has warned that a crucial document written by him on Kingfisher Airlines appears to have been removed from records. Mr Bhushan has written to his successor, Prashant Sukul, to alert him that just a day before he was dismissed, he noted his concerns about how Kingfisher's financial crisis was impacting its focus on safety. Mr Bhushan has sent his replacement a copy of what he had written, and has said that if his noting has gone missing, an inquiry must be conducted. (Read: Letter to DGCA)
He has said that his successor incorrectly stated that there was nothing on record to prove that a day before he was removed, Mr Bhushan had suggested that Kingfisher's permit to fly should be cancelled if it didn't clear a substantial part of its dues, including employees' salaries, within 15 days of receiving this notice. The airline and his successor have both said no such notice was recorded or received.
Mr Bhushan says he ordered that notice to be served on July 9. He has shared with the new DGCA head a copy; reproduced on plain paper, the missing note in which he stated, "In the course of its audit, several engineering issues are emerging which have a direct bearing on safety." His note also said, "It is concluded that safety is likely to be compromised if the airline continues in its current functioning style." (Read: Copy of missing note on Kingfisher)
After Mr Bhushan's transfer, Kingfisher in a statement had clarified, "No communication or notice has been received from DGCA. Kingfisher is operating with the utmost safety under close supervision of DGCA. Transfer of Government officials is the sole prerogative of the Government. It is both highly incorrect and mischievous to even suggest that the transfer of DGCA was in any way connected to Kingfisher Airlines."
Mr Bhushan was granted an extension as the head of the DGCA in July by a cabinet committee headed by the Prime Minister. A week later, the Civil Aviation Minister, Ajit Singh, dismissed him. Sources say the minister had not been consulted by the government about Mr Bhushan's term, whose continuance in office had been cleared by Vayalar Ravi who was in charge of aviation till Mr Singh took over in December last year.