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Chetan Datta Poduri: A mysterious Case of Missing Airplanes

[Disclaimer. But for the truth everything is fiction. Any resemblance to names, places and locations in this story is purely coincidental and unintentional… Author.]

Imagine an aeroplane that can never fly...

24th July 2016, 07:00AM IST (Indian Standard Time, Rashtrapati Bhavan (The Presidential Palace), Delhi, India

The Indian Parliament is agog about an Antonov-32 Fighter Plane missing en route to Port Blair, Andamans, India.

The News-Yellers are yelling about it and more...

By 07:30AM IST it was blazing hot in Delhi. Monsoon (the Indian Rainy season), as usual, got delayed by a month by the Gods. Aides of the President were preparing tables for the morning breakfast.

Today, the Indian President, Mr Ranav Mukherjee has two meetings – the first one with the elite and the best of the Indian scientists at 09:30AM IST, while the second one is with the CAG (Comptroller and Auditor General of India), representatives of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Research & Analysis Wing (RAW) at around 10:30AM IST.


23rd July 1973, 10:00AM IST, Backwaters of Kerala, Alleppey, India

Somewhere in the backwaters of Kerala near Alleppey, India, a group of middle-aged men and their spouses are meeting discretely in an anchored house-boat. The oarsmen, and the boat’s crew were asked to take leave and return by 6PM sharp.

All the families were well-off but somehow disgruntled with life in general and the present government in particular. One of them Mr Ranav Mukherjee, was a politician, a sitting Member of the Parliament (MP) but unpopular with the crowds. His political future is insecure. Nevertheless, the ‘crystal gazer’ in me says that this guy would go on to become the President of the nation one day, and today’s meeting will secure his future.

Another guy in that group is a scion of the Tzar of Indian distilled beverages named Mr Sanjoi Mallaiah. He’s invited to this meeting to be its financial backbone and accounts adviser.

Others are mid-level officials from various government offices including the Indian Air Force (IAF) and will be introduced to you as and when the need arises... Oops! Mention ‘government’ and my language became ‘federal’ ... hmmm!


24th July 2016, 08:30AM IST, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi, India

Ever heard of a person by name Potluri Sairam? No? You couldn’t have. That’s because he was maligned before being removed from government service, to be precise, Indian Air Force, in the year 1997. Else he would’ve been the Chief of Armed Forces of India (CAFI). He was accused of being rude, stubborn, and rebellious to his colleagues and superiors. He died in penury with some neurological complications in 2002. His relatives and close associates believed that the symptoms with which he died were a consequence of complications of the work he used to do just prior to his retirement.

Potluri used to be a Pilot for an AN-32 fighter plane. There are as per the records only 126 AN-32 planes in service with the IAF. Although a fighter pilot is taken-off the flying duties upon reaching 45 years of age, the AN-32 pilots were an exception. For their spouses, it was a status symbol. AN-32 planes were inducted into IAF sometime in 1976. At that time, they defined the term “State of The Art.” Today, they are inferior giving up their status to B-52s.

A colleague of Potluri, Mr Harinder Singh Virk, died two years earlier than Potluri (i.e., in the year 2000) of Parkinsonism. So everyone assumed Potluri died of some neurological complications as a consequence of too much piloting. In 1990s it was discovered that AN-32s didn’t have the protective UV covering at the pilot’s visor in the cockpit. This fact was suppressed by not only the then Government but the successive ones as well. The pilots were simply given UV goggles... But then this story is not about that...


23rd July 1973, 10:00AM IST, Backwaters of Kerala, Alleppey, India

“Well everyone of us know why we are here ... we must be united in the cause ... there’s no scope for grudges and rebellion ... In fact as per the records we are all on vacation ... So this meeting is discrete ...”, said Ranav...

“Virk here tells me that government placed an order for 125 AN-32 planes,” Sanjoi hissed.

“Yeah! They cost US$40 million apiece,” Virk heaved slowly.

“Well that’ll be about Indian Rupees 335,600,000 plus minus a few million... per plane,” Sanjoi retorted.

“Hmmm! We should somehow fudge the records to indicate to the Prime Minister and the Parliament that only 125 planes are being bought while the treasury should release funds for 126 planes... money for the 126th plane goes into our kitties,” Ranav emphasized.

“That’ll be a bit difficult”, Virk

“That’s why we are all meeting here.”


24th July 2016, 09:30AM IST, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi, India

President of India Mr Ranav Mukherjee walks into the Chandragupta Hall majestically in his sherwani where 30 of the best Indian Scientists have assembled. Everyone stands as the national anthem is played...

Jana Gana Mana... blah... blah...

Immediately Ranav started on his pre-prepared speech, “Distinguished guests, ladies, transgenders, and gentlemen... You have been called here to discuss how and why of the Antonov-32’s disappearance over the Bay of the Bengal. We have here today among us the best the Indian Science can offer and that includes Nobel Prize winning chemist Prof Venky. Professor, it is a privilege to welcome you here in the hour of India’s greatest need... Let the discussions begin... But please keep in mind that I have another confidential meeting scheduled at 10:30AM and by 02:45PM, I must be addressing the combined houses of the Parliament and make a statement with regard to the disappearance of AN-32...Till then all of you are not permitted to leave the premises of Rashtrapati Bhavan... So please be my guests.”

“At the outset, let me inform you, Mr President, that there was an error with regard to the upgraded digital compasses of many a plane and not just of that of AN-32,” Prof Rentluri rushed in without wasting time and thereby igniting the debate, “Perhaps the same problem with the disappeared Malaysian MH-370.”

“Yes and that makes sense if we draw magnetic field lines around the area where the planes are presumed to have disappeared... It falls in the no-magnetic zone... a prohibited area in flying terms as even the conventional magnetic compasses malfunction,” beamed proudly Dr Trivedi, a senior DRDO scientist. Rentluri nodded in agreement.

“Taking this in tandem with Poduri’s treatise on geomagnetic pole reversals published in the Republic day issue of Current Science almost six years ago, theoretically an aeroplane flying in a straight line from Chennai to Port Blair must lose contact with gravity and spin off into Exosphere,” Rentluri added. He received an encouraging glance of approval from Dr Saxena, the Director-General of CSIR, India.

Incidentally, one Dr Thomas Ezieckial, aged about 30 years, from the National Physical Laboratories was also present in the meeting. By the dubious Indian standards he’s too young to be present in such a high profile meeting. He adjusted his glasses and was about to say something when the President said, “We will now break for tea and snacks, and by 10:15AM we will finalize the sentences to be included in my speech to the Parliament ...” Everyone made a mad scramble for tea and snacks.

At 10:15AM all the Scientists sat at their designated seats. During tea time Mr Ranav conferred silently with Drs. Trivedi, Saxena and Rentluri.

At 10:17AM, Mr Ranav Mukherjee, the President of India, read the following statements to the assembled scientists...

“Distinguished guests, we will now take a vote for the statement that the plane disappeared into Exosphere as a consequence of flying into no-magnetic zone, a prohibited area in piloting terms. Consequently, there is a pressing need to study geomagnetism in greater detail. As a consequence of this incidence, Indian Scientific community seeks an additional budget of Rs 200 crore for further research. If you agree with the statement, press the red button in front of you. Else abstain from pressing.”

Of the 30 invited scientists, 29 pressed the button. One abstained.


24th July 2016, 10:30AM IST, Somewhere in the Kazakh Desert of Kazakhstan

General Yilmaz of German Armed Forces, General Smirnov representing the Russian forces and the self-appointed commander of ISIS Mega General-Commando Tahir Baaz are addressing a mixture of German, Russian and ISIS soldiers. It appears that Yilmaz and Smirnov are on duty at that time. In the background there appears to be a huge Malaysian Plane.

General Smirnov is saying something like this –

“... approximately 30% of the Russian scientists and 40% of the German scientists believe in the Geo-centric theory of the Universe. A selection of those scientists is here to meet us. Proof of the geocentric theory is the Malaysian MH-370 Plane which is in front of you and behind me as I speak...

... Incidentally, the heliocentric scientists treat the Earth as planar in their maps but do not realize it. They also treat the Earth as a bar magnetic while simultaneously acknowledging that it is a circular ball in nature. Therefore their science is screwed up... The very fact that MH370 is with you now, while the helio-centrists are clueless as to its whereabouts is a testimony to it... Also please keep in mind that the passengers of MH370 are very much alive but transcended to a higher spiritual level as they are psycho-tele-ported from helio-centrism by geocentric forces... Hence they may not move or acknowledge your presence... So don’t disturb them... This victory of Geo-centrism over Helio-centrism means victory of Religion over the so-called Modern Science. That’s why Tzarist Russia is joining hands with Hitler’s Germany and Ottoman’s ISIS to subdue those commercial atheistic infidels...

“Hail! Hail! Hail! ...” “Tut ... Tut ... Tut (friendly gunfire into air)”

“We the theists are the true Rulers of this Planet ... Non-believers are our slaves”

“... Hail! Hail! Hail! ...” “Tut ... Tut ... Tut (more friendly gunfire into air)”

One of the bullets from the friendly fire hit the fuselage of MH-370 whence it exploded creating a massive fireball. As the area was stacked with armaments and explosives, it resembled an erupting volcano from the International Space station (ISS) in the sky. In the process, everyone present has been reduced to ashes as a huge mushroom cloud rose into the sky. So much for the pride... tch... tch...


24th July 2016, 10:30AM IST, Ashoka Hall, Rashtrapati Bhavan, Delhi, India

“We are running short of time... Hurry with your feedback on AN-32 accounts...,” Ranav rushed in as everyone stood in respect.

The meeting appeared informal... Everyone’s standing in Ashoka Hall which is typically used for Award Ceremonies.

Suddenly this reality dawned onto the President of India, Mr Ranav Mukherjee. Hiding his surprise, he shouted at his Aides who also surprisingly appeared lethargic for the first time in his life. He noticed there was Mr Srivastava, CAG, and a few personnel from CBI and the RAW. One of them was coming towards him with handcuffs...

Quizzically Ranav turned towards CAG as if questioning him “what’s this all about?”

“Mr President, the 1973 Parliament approved only 125 warplanes...”

“So why arrest me?”

“Because you were the Government’s treasury in-charge in 1975 ... during the emergency period...”


“Money changed hands for the 126th plane.”


“The memo ordering release of funds for the 126th plane bears your signature.”

“Then it comes under the purview of the then CAG Mr Rene who’s now dead.”

“But Sir you also issued orders to the then USSR government not to supply the 126th Plane.”


“Yet the then Indian Government paid for 126 planes... The plane that took off the other day and went missing was the never delivered 126th ... meaning it never existed...”

“Then why are you arresting me? Arrest the personnel who are fudging the accounts and log books since 1976,” slowly Ranav reached for his Walther handgun in the right hand pocket of his sherwani....

In reply, the CAG said, “You are the tip of a massive iceberg ... Mallaiah’s first wife who was divorced subsequently, recorded your meeting of 1973 in her mini tape recorder which was a craze in those days ...”


... And the President shot himself!


And hence that plane could never fly
As it never existed


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