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A-I executive wins Rs 5 crore in damages

world Updated: May 02, 2008 01:57 IST

A top Air India executive has won £5,85,000 in damages and legal costs in a libel case against a British eveninger which published a report falsely accusing him of sexually harassing a female colleague.

Captain Ashwini Kumar Sharma, an army captain who is now an executive director of the airline at its Mumbai headquarters, has been awarded £85,000 (Rs 68,50,947) in damages and £500,000 (Rs 4,02,99,000) in cost in his libel case against The Evening Standard by a 12-member High Court Jury.

The paper in a front-page report in August 2006 headlined ‘Sex shame of airline chief’ accused Sharma, also a former
aide-de-camp to the President, of harassing junior female staff and claimed that he was a “serial sex pest”.

“I am extremely delighted that I have been vindicated. I am exremely grateful to my team of lawyers headed by Ian Winter
and the legal system of the UK where a 12-member jury and judge David Eady in the High Court delivered the unanimous verdict on Wednesday evening,” Sharma said.

Sharma, currently the Executive Director in charge of sales, marketing and head of ground handling for the entire Air India global operations, said he was also grateful to his wife and children who stood by him throughout the two-year-long traumatic period and the eight-day trial.

“There was not a shred of truth in any of the allegations made against me. This is exactly what I said on the day the
article was published.”