AI probe ‘clears’ pilots of molestation
Air India's initial probe in the midair scuffle on a Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi flight— in which an airhostess was allegedly harassed by the plane’s pilots—has thrown up inconclusive findings, it is reliably learnt. Lalatendu Mishra reports.mumbai Updated: Oct 07, 2009 00:45 IST
Air India's initial probe in the midair scuffle on a Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi flight— in which an airhostess was allegedly harassed by the plane’s pilots—has thrown up inconclusive findings, it is reliably learnt.
The report—whose findings the airline has not made public due to the senstivity of the issue— has cleared the two pilots of molestation charges, but says the airhostess was pushed out of the cockpit in an alleged ‘brawl.’
One pilot and the purser involved have been suspended for ‘higher degree of involvement.’
“As per the findings of the report, there was no molestation. The fight was started by the purser and he was the instigator,” an official who had access to the findings of the report said, on condition of anonymity.
According to the version given by the airhostess and the purser, she was molested by the two pilots inside the plane's cockpit and pushed out when she protested. Witnessing the incident, the purser had got into a fight with the pilots.
Pilot Captain Ranbir Arora and Flight Purser Amit Khanna were suspended for their ‘higher degree of involvement in the incident on board flight IC 884 on October 3, 2009.’
While purser Khanna—a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) holder—has been held guilty for his 'attitudinal' problems during his dealings with the pilots and the resultant brawl, Captain Arora has been blamed for pushing the hostess out of the cockpit along with the purser, which caused injuries on her arms.
“An altercation involving cockpit crew and cabin crew did take place. The extent of involvement and culpability of each of these individuals would be determined through a regular departmental enquiry,” said Air India in a statement.
The airline did not reveal the details of what exactly happened that night.
Delhi police and the National Commission of Women are also probing the matter.
The airline has now set up a five-member all women committee headed by a senior official to examine the charges of sexual harassment levelled by the hostess.