HAL director and chief test pilot Baldev Singh found dead

Squadron Leader Baldev Singh, a director of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and a retired ace fighter pilot of the Indian Air force, was found dead at Nandi Hills, some 50 km from Bangalore, on Tuesday morning.

The 58-year-old Baldev Singh, director for corporate planning and marketing at state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL), is reported to have committed suicide by hanging by a tree.

Police sources said it looked like suicide and that he was found hanging from a tree on the hills.

The first information report (FIR) filed by police said Baldev Singh left home around 9 am in the official car and told his driver Rajesh to go to the Bangalore international airport at Devanahalli.

According to the FIR, Baldev Singh told the driver to alight and wait for him and drove the car himself towards Nandi hills saying he had to pick up a friend on the way. When there was no sign of him till noon, the driver reported the matter to the corporate office.

Senior HAL officials said they have no idea as to the motive for suicide. Ashok Nayak, chairman of HAL, who flew down to Bangalore for a few hours from an IAF commanders' meeting, said he was sad to lose the ace test pilot, who was also holding the additional post of director-design.