Air India pilots slapped with case for mid-air scuffle


New Delhi : Delhi Police, on a complaint filed by an air hostess, Sunday registered a case against two Air India pilots allegedly involved in a scuffle with some cabin crew members during a flight.

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“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.

According to the air hostess’s FIR, the pilots – Commander Ranbeer Arora and Capt Aditya Chopra – tried to molest her and when she resisted, they pushed her outside the cockpit.

The co-pilot and a flight purser, Amit Khanna, allegedly received minor injuries in the exchange of blows in the incident which occurred around 4:30 a.m. Saturday when the flight IC-884 (Sharjah-Lucknow-Delhi) was over Pakistan.

The incident is understood to have originated in verbal exchanges between the two sides during the pre-flight briefing session ahead of take-off from Sharjah, 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.

Air India is conducting a separate inquiry into the matter. Its enquiry panel is questioning the pilots and the cabin crew, including a flight engineer and other staff, on duty.

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 said.