Military Court Orders Dismissal Of IAF Officer For Shooting Down Own Chopper After 2019 Balakot Strike

IAF Officer Group Captain Suman Roy Chowdhury has been dismissed for shooting down his own chopper after the 2019 Balakot strike by a military court.

A General Court Martial (GCM), also known as the military court, Monday recommended the dismissal of Group Captain Suman Roy Chowdhury for shooting down Indian Air Force’s (IAF’s) own Mi-17 helicopter as it approached the Srinagar Air Force station in 2019 that led to the death of six IAF personnel and a civilian.

The IAF’s Court of Inquiry (CoI) had found him guilty of violation of standard operating procedures and taking the call to shoot down the helicopter as the then Chief Operation Officer (COO) of the air force station.

While this is just a recommendation, which has to be confirmed by the IAF chief for actual implementation, sources said there is a stay order by the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the implementation of the GCM after the officer approached it for the same.

The tragic incident took place a day after the Balakot strike when the Pakistani Air Force had launched a counter strike. The helicopter took off and crashed within a 10-minute period when the air skirmish was on 100 km away, and the region’s airbases and military installations were on high-trigger alert.

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As reported first by ThePrint in 2019 itself, while the court of Inquiry was on, it was established that the helicopter was shot down in friendly fire in, what was then attributed by sources as, “fog of war”.

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