Suspended for theft, AI executive resigns
Air India has accepted the resignation of a senior pilot who had been placed under suspension for alleged shoplifting at the Sydney airport, and subsequently reinstated. His last working day will be August 31, according to the national carrier.
Captain Rohit Bhasin, who served Air India for more than 35 years, was caught stealing a wallet from a duty-free shop at Sydney airport on June 23. Air India suspended him with immediate effect, restricting him from entering the airline premises or leaving Kolkata, where he had moved in 2016 after he became executive director (eastern region) of the airline.
Bhasin resumed duty on August 26 after Air India’s director (personnel) sent him a letter that his suspension had been revoked.
However, on August 27, Air India’s general manager (personnel) wrote to him that his resignation letter had been accepted. HT has seen copies of both the letters.
The latest letter said: “This is with reference to your letter dated 06.08.2019, addressed to CMD, tendering your resignation from the services of Air India with a request for waiver of the requisite notice period. The competent authority has accepted your resignation with effect from the close of office hours on 31.08.2019.”
An official said on condition of anonymity that Bhasin had been asked to rejoin work to ensure he can’t claim benefits if he opted for the voluntary retirement scheme (VRS).
“Taking voluntary retirement would mean that the person would be eligible for all post-retirement benefits. The senior management officials did not approve his request of VRS and he was made to resume duty on Monday by revoking his suspension order and his resignation was accepted on Tuesday,” the official said.
Denying that he had asked for VRS, Bhasin said, “I did not ask for voluntary retirement. I have resigned and my last working day is August 31.”
An Air India spokesperson refused to comment.
However, another senior official of the airline said, “The management forced him to resign as this wasn’t the first time he was caught. Before this, he had stolen a jacket from the Singapore airport. An FIR was also registered against him in Dubai.”
“As Bhasin has resigned from the airline, all pending inquiries and cases against him will be closed,” said the second official.
However, according to industry experts, even if a suspect is no more a part of the airline, the pending inquiry from the international authorities will remain.
Jitendra Bhargava, former executive director of Air India, said, “No employee is allowed to resign when there is an ongoing case against him. There have [also] been instances of retirement of accused staff being extended pending inquiry.”