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MPs attack pilot for offloading Wahab

MPs seek the intervention of RS Chairman Hamid Ansari in the issue of pilot's behaviour with RS member Abdul Wahab, who was offloaded from a plane for reporting late.

delhi Updated: May 07, 2008 23:15 IST

A group of 23 MPs on Wednesday attacked the "unbecoming behaviour" of an Indian pilot with Rajya Sabha member Abdul Wahab, who was offloaded from a plane for reporting late, and sought the intervention of House Chairman Hamid Ansari in the issue to protect the honour of Parliament.

"Such unpardonable treatment to an MP and blanket denigration of politicians and people in public life by the pilot is an insult to the honour of the institution of the Parliament itself," the MPs told Ansari in a signed letter.

The MPs mostly belonging to Kerala from both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha have written to the Rajya Sabha Chairman seeking his "personal attention" to the "deplaning" of the lawmaker from a Kochi-bound plane in the first week of April.

"As such, we hope that your honourable self would devote your personal attention to this matter," the letter said.

The letter also deplores the pilot's action of approaching the Pilots Association, contemplating defamation charges and approaching Homeland Securities in America and other international agencies in order "blacklist" Wahab and bar him from flying.

"By any stretch of imagination, we do not understand how this issue could be stretched that far. Even for argument's sake, if there were any lapse on the part of the MP, the right procedure would have been to approach the higher authorities, including your self," the letter said.

The letter written by lawmakers including Lok Sabha members M P Veerendra Kumar and T K Hamza among others, have also questioned the competence of the pilot taking into account his "emotional outbursts" in the incident.

"We would like to raise another very grave issue revealed in this incident. Can a pilot given to such emotional outbursts be entrusted with the life of hundreds of passengers in a situation of crisis, which require steely composure," the letter said.

The MPs, who have termed the treatment meted to Wahab as a "grave breach of the personal and public rights of a serving member of the Rajya Sabha," said the allegation levelled by the pilot that Wahab entered the cockpit and abused him has been proved wrong by an inquiry ordered by the Civil Aviation Minister.

Wahab and his wife had reached Calicut airport ten minutes before the flight arrived and as the airlines officials took him to the plane, the pilot, who was standing on the boarding ladder, started shouting at the official after which Wahab intervened, the letter said.

"On this, though the MP himself intervened, the pilot was adamant that he would not fly unless Wahab and wife were deplaned," it added.

The letter said that the pilot did not listen to the reason that "the flight was slightly delayed" not because the MP was late but due to the fact the a passenger had to be shifted on a stretcher on medical grounds.

"Though Wahab would have been well within his rights to have contested the unreasonable demand of the pilot, as a public person...He graciously opted out of the flight and took a direct flight to Dubai, by IC 538," it said.

The MPs who wrote the letter include Lok Sabha members C S Sujatha, S Manoj, P Rajendran, P Satheedevi, Sebastian Paul, P C Thomas and Rajya Sabha member P J Kurien among others.