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Passengers may decide fate

mumbai Updated: Jan 07, 2010 01:05 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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To get to the truth about what exactly happened, the Mumbai airport police are looking for fellow passengers of the three footballers accused of molesting air hostesses on a Spicejet flight on Tuesday.

The three accused are part of Churchill Brothers, the 12-member football team that was deplaned after two air hostesses accused them of molestation. The three — Okolie Odafa, Kalu Ogba and Arindam Bhattacharya — were arrested on Tuesday and freed on bail.

With the team insisting that the player in question was innocent, saying he had touched the airhostess by mistake, police are now hoping their co-passengers will lead them to the truth.

“The other passengers who were witness to the entire scene could shed light on exactly what happened inside the plane,” said Police Inspector G. Patil.

The team management has claimed the players immediately apologised and the matter was resolved, but was later reopened by another crew member without cause. They also denied that the team members had directed lewd comments at the airhostesses.

The accused were freed on a surety bond of Rs 5,000 each, three hours after their arrest. They were also subjected to a blood-alcohol test that returned negative, police sources said.

Police records say the incident happened on a Goa-Kolkata flight that the team took on its way to a league match against Mohan Bagan. The flight had a stopover in Mumbai.

Police sources said although the crew’s compliant has been recorded, the case becomes strong only if the co-passengers support the victims’ claims.