The damaged Dakota owned by Mr. Vijaypat Singhania – PTI picture
August 31 , 2001: The J K Singhania group preserves a Douglas Dakota DC-3 (VT-CEB) at the Multi-Million dollar Singhania Hospital in Thane City, near Mumbai. This Dakota is a World War 2 veteran and was flown by Mr. Vijaypat Singhania earlier and retired sometime in 1997.
However, this vintage aircraft found itself a target to mob fury when local supporters of a political leader stormed the hospital and ransacked the entire premises. The Mob was venting their grief on the death of the local District Chief, Mr. Anand Dighe in the hospital.
Regrettably, the crowd damaged the propeller of the Dakota and caused some damage to it. The entire hospital was totally destroyed and has since been closed down. The Chief of the Raymonds Group, Mr. Vijaypath Singhania, who also happens to be a Honorary Air Commodore in the Indian Air Force was shocked at the damage done to the hospital and to the aircraft.
In a choked voice, the Raymond chairman said, “The mob burnt one of its propellers”. Describing Dakota, one of the planes used in Second World War and purchased by him three decades ago as his `baby’, Singhania said, “I feel very sad about the entire episode.” Mr. Singhania said he would leave the plane as it is to remind him how uncivilised people were on the night of Sunday.
–News report and picture from Tribune of the Dakota which was damaged in the Thane Riots