HC directs WB Govt to sell off arms drop aircraft

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Kolkata, Apr 16 (UNI) Calcutta High Court today directed the West Bengal Government to sell off the aircraft, AN 26, used for airdropping arms and ammunition in Purulia district in 1995, within six weeks.

A two-judge bench comprising Justices D P Sengupta and P K Deb issued the ruling after the Mumbai International Airport Private Limited moved a petition, saying the Russian aircraft was posing problem to modernisation of the airport.

Appearing for the government, Advocate General Balai Ray pleaded before the court that the State Government has no objection to dispose of the aircraft as it had lost its aviation capacity.

Mr Roy said the aircraft would have to be dismembered for sale and it could bring nearly Rs 10.79 lakh.

The Russian AN 26 aircraft was used for dropping arms and ammunition on several villages in Purulia district in 1995.

Arms dealer Briton Peter Bleach and five Latvian pilots were arrested, but Kim Davy, the brain behind the arms drop, eluded the law.

A city court sentenced Bleach and the pilots to life imprisonment.

However, the President of India remitted the sentence of the pilots on an appeal and they left for homes.

Bleach moved the High Court, challenging the sentence, which was also remitted after the British Government took up his case with its Indian counterpart.

UNI XC SJC RP BD2040

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