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Tue, May 01, 2012

Custody Battle Emerges Over Airline Wreckage

Bhoja Air Accident Airplane Subject Of Dispute

Subsequent to the Bhoha Air accident on April 20, Pakistan’s Civil Aviation Authority petitioned a court to get custody of the aircraft wreckage. The director of the CAA filed to seek possession of the remains after local police sought custody due to the criminal case involved. Koral police cited Farooq Bhoja for being responsible for the crash and resulting loss of life. Under Pakistan’s criminal procedure law, subsequent to a case being registered, the wreckage becomes the property of the police.

Citing 1994 aviation rules that allow the aviation authority to perform investigations and take custody of accident wreckage, the CAA has asked the court for legal custody of the remains. The Pakistan News Service reports that the CAA will have to assure the court that the wreckage would be returned to the police for their own criminal investigation whenever it is requested. Oddly, legal custody was not required for the CAA’s investigation of the 2010 Airblue accident.

Sajid Bashir, former CAA legal director said that under aviation rules only the CAA has the jurisdiction to investigate an air crash. He added that an independent and neutral inquiry was necessary to determine the cause of the crash, and the CAA was legally responsible and technically qualified to conduct the investigation. An anonymous CAA official said the police were not competent to reach any conclusion regarding the crash or to assign liability. 



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