- Jay Panda accused of violating rules by flying into high security zone
- He had quit Odisha's ruling Biju Janata Dal earlier this year
- He denied the allegation, said he flew chopper at a different time
A helicopter flown by former parliamentarian Baijayant Jay Panda was seized by the police in Odisha on the weekend, on the charge that he had violated rules by flying over a high security zone.
Jay Panda, who quit Odisha's ruling Biju Janata Dal in May after he was suspended for "anti-party activities", accused the state government of trying to "handicap" his movement, in a series of tweets.
Latest— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) September 17, 2018
> A local cop from Puri has come to Bhubaneswar airport & "seized" the hangar & the helicopter i fly
> Clearly, facts have no bearing, & cops privately admit "orders from 3rd floor"
> Brazen attempt to handicap my movement around Odisha, but they cant stop me#JaiJagannathhttps://t.co/8P4t3aLUJ6
The police in Puri have seized the hangar of IMFA, the company founded by Jay Panda's father.
Jay Panda was accused of flying his chopper over an "eco-sensitive zone" in Chilika Lake around 1.30 pm on Saturday.
"Odisha police have sealed the hangar which had three helicopters. Their allegation that I violated a no-fly zone is baseless," the politician told NDTV.
Forest officials reportedly complained that a low-flying white helicopter was hovering "dangerously low" over a restricted area of the Chilika lagoon, causing panic in the popular tourist spot.
The flight was harmful for the atmosphere, the lake water and its fish and dolphin population, alleged the Assistant Conservator of Forests in a complaint.
Jay Panda, denying the allegation, tweeted that he had flown a helicopter at a totally different time. Airport records reportedly show that the chopper landed in Bhubaneswar at 1.26 pm.
> Today a State Govt official filed an F.I.R, citing media reports (saying a Seaplane landed in Chilika at 1.30 PM) BUT changing description to "helicopter"— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) September 17, 2018
> F.I.R still says Chilika lending at 1.30 PM, when I'd landed in Bhubaneswar https://t.co/dRS0sGYzjg
2/2— Baijayant Jay Panda (@PandaJay) September 17, 2018
It so happens i had flown a *helicopter* on Saturday & at a totally different time! ATC records will show that:
> I flew from 8.45 AM over Rajhans-Puri-Konark & landed at Kendrapada at 10.28 AM.
> & I flew from Kendrapada at 12.50 PM, landing @ Bhubaneswar 1.30pm
Kuchh Bhi https://t.co/ZmQkCDTfzS
The black box data from the chopper will be investigated to establish its flight details and whether it had landed in Chilika or had flown low over sanctuary, Puri police chief Sarthak Sarangi told reporters.
Jay Panda had a bitter exit from the BJD after a falling out with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
The rift had widened over the past year, when the articulate and affable politician was removed as spokesperson of the BJD parliamentary party after he called for introspection after the party's setback in the local body polls last year.
Jay Panda holds a private pilot licence to fly aircraft and helicopters. In his Twitter bio, he writes he has clocked over 1,500 hours of flight time in a helicopter.