IAF officer SS Chaitanyas widow MVani received Rs 14.5 lakh as ex-gratia compensation last Friday, after Parrikar acted on a report that appeared in ET
NEW DELHI: Indian Air Force officer SS Chaitanya’s widow M Vani received Rs 14.5 lakh as ex-gratia compensation last Friday, after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar acted on a report that appeared in ET.
“I have received the payment and I am glad that this is over. I just hope that nobody has to go through this ordeal again,” Vani told ET. Squadron Leader Chaitanya had died in 2005 while returning from an Everest expedition as part of an air force mountaineering team.
After the successful scaling of the summit in May that year, the officer lost his life in a heavy snowstorm, leaving behind his wife and a threemonth-old child with special needs.
The pension authorities had balked at handing over the benefits to the widow, questioning whether the officer was on “bona fide” duty. The Joint Controller of Defence Accounts (JCDA) took 10 years to process Vani’s compensation claim before finally saying that there was no ‘causal connection’ to the death of the officer and the service, as he was not on ‘bona fide duty’.
The Armed Forces Tribunal, last year, called the JCDA stand mala fide and an order last month gave the government two months to pay her ex-gratia compensation.
After the defence minister took up the matter with the air headquarters, following the ET report, the payment was released to Vani immediately.
Source: Defense News