A case of molestation and assault during an alleged mid-air scuffle was on Sunday registered by the Delhi police against the two pilots of an Air India flight on a complaint of an airhostess and the airline also probed the incident.
Satyender Garg, Joint Commissioner (Operations), Delhi Police said a medical examination of the unidentified air hostess has confirmed injuries on her body.
The pilot Ranbeer Arora, co-pilot Aditya Chopra , the airhostess and a flight purser Amit Khanna were derostered on Saturday after the airline management took a serious view of the alleged scuffle between the cockpit crew and some cabin crew members. 106 passengers and a seven-member crew were on board the Airbus A-320 on an international flight.
An Air India spokesperson called the incident "a clear case of indiscipline" and said the airline would take stringent action on the basis of the inquiry report against whomsoever found guilty. Chopra and Khanna also allegedly received minor injuries during the scuffle.
The scuffle between the two pilots and cabin crew members of IC 884 (Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi) was reported on Saturday shortly after the flight landed at Lucknow at 0600 HRS. The incident occured around 0430 HRS when the aircraft was cruising over Pakistan territory.
A three-member panel set up by Air India here probed the incident and heard the parties involved following claims and counter-claims. Details of the probe were not available.
Garg said as per the airhostess's complaint cases were registered agaisnt the pilots under IPC Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (common intention).
"Basically her (the air hostess) complaint had said that she had been abused, manhandled, assaulted in an undignified way. So the content of the complaint made out a case under these sections," Garg said. He also said the police would also take the version of the accused before initiating further proccedings in the case.
The airhostess said she has given a statement to the management but declined to anwser newesmen's questions.
Arora said there was never any risk to passengers during the flight. "Inquiry is on. We will get the details soon," he said.
Khanna claimed he did not hit anyone. "I must speak to the Air India management first. Since we are under great shock, I have not been able to talk to them."
The scuffle apparently was a sequel to verbal exchanges between the two sides during the pre-flight briefing session ahead of take-off from Sharjah, airline sources said.
An airline spokesman claimed that at no point of time did any of the two pilots come out of the cockpit.
Denying some reports in this regard, he said, "There was never an instance of no pilot being present in the cockpit. The Commander of the flight was in his seat throughout the flight and never left it. Thus, there was no question of flight safety being compromised. This could also be corroborated by the recordings of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (or the black box)."