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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

India

‘Airhostess wasn’t molested’
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, November 18, 2009
First Published: 01:31 IST(18/11/2009)
Last Updated: 01:33 IST(18/11/2009)

A National Commission for Women panel has rejected Air India airhostess Komal Singh's allegation that she had been sexually harassed by two pilots.

"It was a scuffle, not sexual harassment", the five-member panel said in its report submitted to the ministry of women and child development. It said Singh had levelled the charge as an “afterthought”.

Singh had accused captain Ranbir Arora and co-pilot Aditya Chopra of molesting her. The panel was set up on October 6 after Singh approached NCW chairperson Girija Vyas.

Last week, the airhostess said the NCW report had tampered with her original statement and was biased against her. Women and child development minister Krishna Tirath and Vyas could not be reached for comment.

The report said Singh and a flight purser, Amit Khanna, had an argument with the pilots in the cockpit and were asked to leave. When they did not, the pilots tried to push them out.

Air India started two inquiries to look into the accusations. The first, a women-only committee, was to probe the sexual harassment charge. This panel found no merit in Singh's complaint.

Air India executive director Jitendra Bhargava said, “The findings… stand vindicated.”

The second inquiry was to probe the charge of insurbordination levelled by the two pilots against Singh and Khanna, study flight safety and the scuffle.

The airline officials indicated this inquiry would follow the due course of law. All four employees could face action for indiscipline on a flight as well as for endangering passengers.

Singh could face action for violating Air India's service conduct rules on not speaking to the media without clearance.


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