Categorically denying any security lapse took place aboard a special aircraft on the PM’s duty, the Air-India management said it had investigated the matter of pilferage of six bottles of whisky from the bar cart of the aircraft.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday evening, Air-India chairman and managing director V. Thulasidas said an investigation had been carried out. He indicated that the report had been given to him this afternoon and that action could be expected within the next three days.
For now, the A-I management has decided to take the crew that was on board the PM’s aircraft — during a trip to Germany and Uzbekistan this April, when the pilferage was reported — off VVIP flight duty till the guilty person(s) are identified.
“There was no security lapse at all. It was a case of pilferage, appropriate security agencies have told us that there was no security lapse. We've been investigating this from day one,” said Thulasidas. He denied ignorance on the directives of the Civil Aviation Ministry, on speedy completion of the probe.
“The bar cart was opened somewhere in Hannover with one of the keys. There are a select number of people who possess these keys. The missing bottles were promptly reported to the captain by the inflight supervisor. As some authorised persons were involved, we kept a discreet vigil on the baggage of all 30 members of the cabin crew at the Berlin airport. Many of them were carrying excess liquor and all necessary evidence has been collected through the investigation report,” Thulasidas said.
Highly placed sources told HT that the inquiry report points out that in addition to crew members who possess keys to the bar cart, some ground staff have access to it too. So, the crew alone cannot be blamed for the pilferage.