With the Congress alleging conspiracy behind the technical snag in the aircraft in which Rahul Gandhi was travelling, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said that it was due to the failure of autopilot mode which is not "uncommon".
Meanwhile, the Congress has demanded a full-fledged probe into the matter, hinting that there could be a conspiracy behind the entire episode. The incident took place on Thursday (April 26) just before the aircraft, Dassault Falcon 2000, with Rahul onboard was landing at the Hubballi airport in north Karnataka.
"As per operator's report, it was snag of autopilot mode, pilot shifted to manual mode&aircraft landed safely. Autopilot failure incidents aren't uncommon. The 2-member committee set up to probe. Report likely to come in 2-3 weeks," DGCA said.
Late on Thursday evening, the DGCA ordered the grounding of the aircraft and the crew. The charter company arranged an alternate aircraft to fly Rahul out of Hubballi on Friday.
The plane suddenly tilted heavily on the left side and the altitude dipped steeply with violent shuddering of the aircraft body at 10.45 am, Gandhi's close aide Kaushal Vidyarthi wrote in a letter to state DGP Neelmani N Raju.
"This is a serious case of aviation mechanics failure. A serious accident was averted. A formal complaint has been submitted... to inquire into entire matter including the possibility of foul play which led to technical slag, failure of autopilot and failure of rudders, which is completely unprecedented," Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said.
According to reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up Rahul Gandhi to inquire about the incident.
Gandhi is on a two-day visit to poll-bound Karnataka from today to campaign for the party candidates in the districts of Uttara Kannada, Dahskina Kannada, Kodagu and Mysuru.