Itanagar, Apr 30(ANI): The Air Force, the Army and the paramilitary will launch a massive search operation to locate missing Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu.
A Pawan Hans Helicopter flying from Tawang to Itanagar with Khandu had gone missing today morning.
It was later reported that the chopper had safely landed in Bhutan, and the chief minister would board a flight back to India as soon as possible.
However, the mystery over Khandu's whereabouts deepened when the Bhutan police chief refused to confirm reports that the chopper has landed on Bhutan soil.
India's Ambassador to Bhutan Pavan Varma also confirmed it saying that Bhutan has not reported any landing.
Till now there has been no official confirmation about Khandu's whereabouts, except Arunachal Governor General (retired) J.J. Singh and Khandu's adviser Kiren Rijiju's statements that the helicopter had landed in eastern Bhutan.
Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh Takam Sanjoy said that he spoke to Defence Minister A.K. Antony and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to know about the facts about Khandu's chopper landing in Bhutan, but the Foreign Secretary did not confirm the media reports.
Sanjoy informed that the government will be launching a massive operation from Sunday early morning as due to bad weather it is not possible to undertake the operation today.
The Air Force has a base in Tezpur, Assam. The base is the home of several Sukhoi Su-30 combat aircrafts.
Tezpur is also a major base of the Army.
Khandu was accompanied by two of his personal aides. The chopper had taken off from Tawang at 9:56 am and was to land at Itanagar at 11:30 am. It was last sighted at Sela Pass, 20 minutes after taking off from Tawang.
Khandu (56) had served in the intelligence wing of the Army and was sworn on April 9, 2007 as the fifth Chief Minister of the state, replacing Gegong Apang.
The PHHL has been operating five helicopters across Arunachal, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura and daily Guwahati-Tawang services for the past nine years. It is one of the major lifelines of the landlocked Arunachal Pradesh.
The helicopter service on the Guwahati-Tawang route was suspended in the wake of three probes being over a Pawan Hans chopper crash on April 19, killing 17 people and injuring six. (ANI)
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