The fate of Bell 47 [VT-EAP] – AAI vs CBI (and the IAF!)
Bell 47G-5 Helicopter VT-EAP is a well-known ‘movie star’ appearing throughout the 1980s in various movies. It was believed to have been built in 1969 as a G-5 model. It was operated for years by Pushpaka Aviation which used to supply helicopters for movies. VT-EAP was a fixture in many movies in the 80s. A sister aircraft VT-EAO was lost in a movie shooting accident in 1980. The accident claimed the life of the hero of the movie Kolilakkam. VT-EAP however had a long stint as a movie star. One of the last appearances of VT-EAP was in the 1993 movie – Roop ki Rani Choron ka raja.
The helicopter had since then become the centre of a criminal case involving notorious gangster Romesh Sharma, who pretty much arm-twisted the owner into signing the papers over in 1996.. Read all of that sordid saga at this link and at Indiankanoon.org . The Helicopter was taken into ‘custody’ of the police in 1998 and soon disappeared from public sight.
In this photograph by Sharad Saxena of India Today magazine, the Bell-47 Helicopter VT-EAP as recovered by the Police.
It turns out that the Helicopter languished for years in a hangar at Safdarjang airport till last year when it became the subject of a court case between the Airports Authority of India and the Central Bureau of Investigation. This was revealed in court documents found at https://indiankanoon.org/doc/108140735/
The Airports Authority of India (“AAI”) stated that the Helicopter was parked in Hangar No.4, Safdarjung Airport, New Delhi and had been racking up storage fees. On 12th February 2021, A notice was issued to the CBI asking it to place its stand on record.
The CBI had seized the helicopter only on the directions of the High Court of Delhi nearly two decades ago. Since the CBI did not have the infrastructure to assemble/disassemble the helicopter in question or park the same, the AAI was requested to allot a parking space. The AAI allowed the Helicopter to be parked way back in May 2004.
The Delhi High court ruled that the CBI will take possession of VT-EAP.
Rumour has it that the Helicopter is now currently in possession of the Indian Air Force, pending restoration to static display status with the IAF Museum.
Last flight of VT-EAO https://youtu.be/0W5_7LmvzrU?t=418