Holding that the frisking of former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was "absolutely unpardonable", the government said Tuesday an inquiry had been ordered and Continental Airlines of the US issued notice for its action that was in "wilful violation" of Indian laws.
"The frisking was absolutely unpardonable," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel said in the Rajya Sabha. "Action will be taken in accordance with the sentiments of the house."
The statement came after MPs from across the spectrum expressed outrage over Kalam being reportedly subjected to a full body check and even asked to remove his footwear as he waited on the aerobridge of the Newark-bound flight at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) recently.
"Continental Airlines has been issued a showcause notice under section 11A of the Aircraft Act for wilful violation of the law," Patel said.
"The frisking or action per se was was absolutely wrong. The former president and other such dignitaries are exempt from such frisking," Patel pointed out.
After Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley had raised the issue in the house during zero hour, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan said: "It is the unanimous sentiment of the house that this is a very serious matter. I hope the government will take note and take appropriate action."
Patel also denied reports that security operations at the airport had been outsourced.
"Security has not been outsourced. It is still the responsibility of the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force). This incident involved the security of the airline at the embarkation point," Patel pointed out.