Air India pilots de-rostered, police register case


New Delhi : Air India Sunday grounded two pilots and crew members involved in a mid-air scuffle, even as Delhi Police registered a case of molestation against the pilots on a complaint filed by an air hostess.

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“The incident of scuffle between the two pilots and cabin crew members of IC 884 (Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi flight) was reported yesterday morning,” an Air India spokesperson said Sunday.

“As there have been claims and counter-claims between the parties involved, the management has ordered an enquiry, which is still in progress,” the spokesperson added.

Taking a serious view of the incident, the management has de-rostered the pilots and two crew members.

“Further course of action will be decided based on the enquiry report,” the spokesperson said.

The incident comes close on the heels of a pilots’ strike that grounded the fleet of 155 planes for five days and caused untold inconvenience to passengers.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police registered a case against the pilots – Commander Ranbeer Arora and Capt Aditya Chopra – who, according to a first information report (FIR) filed with the police, tried to molest an air hostess, and when she resisted, pushed her outside the cockpit.

“The air hostess sustained bruises and injuries on her hand,” Joint Commissioner of Police (operations) Satyendera Garg said, adding her medical examination had confirmed she had been assaulted.

The co-pilot and a flight purser, Amit Khanna, were allegedly injured in the exchange of blows that occurred around 4:30 a.m. Saturday when the aircraft was flying over Pakistan.

The incident is understood to have originated in verbal exchanges between the confronting sides during the pre-flight briefing session ahead of takeoff from Sharjah, the police said.

The Airbus A-320 was carrying 106 passengers and seven crew members and had reached Lucknow when the matter was reported.

The case has been registered under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

However, Khanna denied there had been any scuffle during the flight.

“I must speak to the Air India management first. Since we are under great shock, I have not been able to talk to them. But there was no fight between us on the flight,” he asserted.