India’s chief flying operations inspector (CFOI), one of the seniormost positions in the aviation safety regulator’s office is accused of sitting on a pile of sexual harassment complaints filed by women staffers. The matter came to light on Tuesday when a Delhi parliamentarian reported it to the civil aviation minister.
The note alleged that other than ignoring complaints, Captain Ajay Singh also misused his power to make some complainants go back on their words. The HT has a copy of the letter sent by Udit Raj, a member of Parliament (MP) from the capital city’s north-west constituency.
“Several women employees have met me personally and briefed me about their grievances regarding allegations of a deteriorating work environment and harassment that they are suffering due to inappropriate behaviour of Captain Ajay Singh. These employees have also alleged that the complaints of harassment by female employees are not seriously investigated and complainants are pressurized to withdraw their complaints,” reads the note sent to the civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapati Raju.
It added inquiries into these complaints resembled kangaroo courts and Singh had allegedly shielded his “friends and colleagues” facing such charges. Though HT contacted Singh, he refused to comment. Even the DGCA chief BS Bhullar also did not respond to HT’s calls.
The note listed at least nine pending cases allegedly waiting action from the senior pilot who heads the flight standard directorate bureau. One of them was about a senior pilot demanding an outstation assignment with a woman inspector. The woman officer allegedly reported the matter to Captain Singh but no action was taken. Eventually, the scheduled check was changed after an official above him intervened.
Another point stated that Singh had allegedly made some private correspondence related to sexual harassment inquiry public to embarrass women. Threatening graffiti put on women officials’ cars, nitpicking complainants and permitting use of expletives in office were some of the other complaints ignored by the official, the note further alleged. It also sought an independent probe into the allegations.