Even ten days after he was sacked as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Air India (AI) Express, Pawan Arora continues to attend office.
On November 18, the AI board had met in Delhi and decided to dismiss Arora and form a two-member panel to look into the “process of recruitment” of Stefan Sukumar as the Chief of Training.
The decision to sack Arora — on the ground that a number of things about him weren’t known at the time of his appointment — had come a few days after AI’s independent directors met with Prime Minister’s principal secretary TKA Nair to complain that they were “misguided” and “kept in dark” about his previous record.
Top civil aviation ministry officials said they were “shocked” and “surprised” that Arora continued to come to office.
“This amounts to an absolute and blatant contempt of the decision of the AI board,” said a ministry official on the condition of anonymity.
AI confirmed Arora was attending office. “After the Board’s decision, minutes of the meeting had to be prepared and signed by the members. This has been done. Now, views of the legal department will be taken before we proceed. We are proceeding in a professional manner,” an AI official said.
“The appointment itself was made on false records. They can simply suspend him pending a final decision or ask him to stay at home till this process is completed. This is utter contempt of the Board’s decision,” said another ministry official.
AI denied that Arora was still taking crucial decisions and said his powers had been withdrawn.