‘Nasi ganja’ chopper pilot claims trial to deviating from flight plan

IPOH: The pilot who landed his helicopter at Padang Ipoh to collect several packets of “nasi ganja” last year has been charged at a Magistrate’s Court here for failing to adhere to a flight path.

Datuk Mohamed Raffe K. Chekku, who is also a company director, pleaded not guilty to the charge brought against him before Magistrate Jesseca Daimis on Monday (May 9).

According to the charge sheet, Raffe landed his aircraft at the site between 9.50am and 10am on July 23.

He was charged under Rule 77(2) of the Commercial Flight Regulations 2016 for failing to adhere to the rules stipulated under the Civil Aviation directive for landing the Bell 505 helicopter in a location other than an aerodrome as stated in the flight plan.

He faces a RM50,000 fine or up to three years’ jail or both if found guilty.

Raffe was represented by a team of lawyers.

His lead counsel Datuk Baljit Singh Sidhu requested bail to be fixed at RM5,000, stating that his client had been cooperating with police investigations.

He said his client has four children and a wife.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jean Sharmila Jesudason requested bail to be set between RM5,000 and RM10,000.

Magistrate Jesseca fixed bail at RM5,000 with one surety, and set June 29 for mention of the case.

The accused posted bail.

It was widely reported last year that the craving for nasi ganja made a customer from Kuala Lumpur go to great lengths, or rather heights, to get the popular fare from Ipoh via helicopter.

It was reported that a helicopter landed at Padang Ipoh on July 23 to pick up 36 packs of nasi ganja ordered by a customer from Kuala Lumpur.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) then launched an investigation of the incident.

Initial investigations found that the helicopter departed at 9.08am from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang for Ipoh and returned to Subang at 11.02am the same day.