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Updated: May 20, 2012 10:15 IST

As AI struggled for cash, its employees milked it dry

Sujay Mehdudia
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THE ENEMY WITHIN: Bogus attendance, inflated bills and overtime claims were among the malpractices unearthed during the investigation. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf
THE ENEMY WITHIN: Bogus attendance, inflated bills and overtime claims were among the malpractices unearthed during the investigation. Photo: Mohammed Yousuf

Vigilance wing unearths over 160 cases where employees stole liquor, caviar from aircraft

Even as Air India struggles to survive on the back of a Rs.30,000-crore government bailout, investigations by its vigilance wing have unearthed over 160 cases where employees milked the airline by stealing liquor, caviar and other luxury goods from aircraft.

The cases, Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has said in response to a question in the Lok Sabha, included a flight purser who was dismissed from service after he was apprehended with 372 mini-liquor bottles by customs at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Similarly, a catering officer was found with Rs. 20,200 worth of caviar tins that were missing from a special charter flight.

Large-scale malpractice, the Minister said, ran through the airline. Air India officials selected five-star hotels in New York, Chicago and Mumbai for cockpit crew without following the tender procedure, while bills were raised at a Delhi airport restaurant for delayed departure even though the flight was on time.

Bogus attendance, inflated bills and overtime claims were also unearthed during investigations. For instance, two senior officers were found guilty of procuring portable entertainment appliances and ground pods through a middleman, thus causing loss to the tune of $1.6 million besides a recurring cost of over Rs. 7 crore per annum for equipment which were hardly used.

Mr. Singh said even highly-paid pilots had engaged in malpractices, with several found to have been claiming allowances to which they were not entitled. In one case, a pilot was actually found to be working for another airline while continuing to draw a salary from Air India. Air India officials, the Minister said, made payments of allowances linked to time spent flying aircraft from the date their contracts began — whereas they were only certified to fly aircraft a month later.

Junior staff at Air India were not far behind in following their seniors. Air India officials, the Minister said, frequently misused their position to get their relatives and friends upgraded.

One area that Air India is losing crores of rupees is the 'special
handling' services rendered to certain frequent flyers, government
officials, politicians, human gods and above all air-india officials.
The free luggage!! If CBI can investigate about the packages that air-
india carried free for just one year under the special handling, the
CBI will get an absolute shock!! But who cares.....Maharaja is only
for Maharajas and not for common man.....

Few months ago I wrote an email to Padma Shri Yusuffali M.A. in Dubai
(new Director in Air-India's Board) on this subject.

from:  M.R.Menon
Posted on: May 24, 2012 at 19:34 IST

Air India's employees if are being so corrupt it is because of no governance at the top. I really think there should be a competitive management to clean up this mess. Also these things cannot be overlooked as small drops make an ocean. So indeed if such things mentioned in the article, unnecessary stopovers are all monitored and accounted there definitely can be some operational profit for the airline. The management will also need to look at option of a PPP model in AI. There can be some routes subcontracted to a private player to keep profitable routes close to the AI management.

from:  Praveen
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 15:28 IST

I don`t see anything surprising here. It would have happened also. But all these are just drops of milk left in the breast. The remaining is been pumped out by the likes of our own Government, starting from the minister for aviation. Am not supporting the AI staff on this strike which is really against the interest of the people of the nation. Nothing is going to right in this country. And our dream is going to become a developed country is never going to happen.

from:  Arun Varghese E
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 14:25 IST

It is morally bankrupt for a country to run a bankrupt airline when millions of the fellow citizens are suffering for a meal a day under backbreaking poverty. It is widely known that running an airline is a complicated business with low profits. What qualifications does the govt appointed Air India administrators have in turning around an airline? It made sense long time ago for the govt to run the airline before deregulation. It makes perfect sense to disband or sell Air India in the current climate to stop further bleeding.

from:  Hemchand
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 09:18 IST

That`s pretty shameful act. The employees always held the airlines by gunpoint ransom. The airline is completely lost its touch. The earlier Maharajah has been phased out. I think the airline is taken for granted. The mess started right from the day the Air India was nationalized and more complicated when the merger of AI and IA happened. Something should be done, i mean a serious revolution is needed. Something which is beyond the government and the bureaucratic hazards; more professionalism is the need of hour.

from:  Hareesh H
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 08:58 IST

Air India service is really bad even in international routes. The conditions of the toilets in the flights is comparable to the toilets in the Indian Railways. Even the low cost budget carriers do a good job keeping the aircraft clean. And you don't see young energetic flight hosts in Air India flights. Rs 30,000 crore bailout is a waste of public money. It is time to let the competitive market decide the winners and losers. I Thank The Hindu for exposing this story about stealing employees. I request you to independently investigate conditions of the inflight service and report to the public.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 07:13 IST

We can rave and rant as much as we want, but Air India has been in the doldrums for decades with the support of our politicians. Nothing will change unless the public boycott the airline. I have never used this airline since 1979! Start a serious campaign to avoid this airline then it will be forced shut down and save tax payer money. Money talks........

from:  Srinivasan
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 06:35 IST

Can we see some swift punishment for the wrongdoers here ?

from:  VIVEK
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 00:00 IST

Shocking news.Air India struggles to exist, but its employees milked the airline by their unhealthy attitude.The concerned govt. department must take necessary action against the useless pilots and staff.But we all know what will happen, today it is a hot news but after some days it will go to the wastebasket and the irresponsible employees continue milking and make it barren.

from:  Aneesh A. Mathew
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 23:32 IST

India is full of fraud/corrupt people, in every sector/area. This is not a rare instance, such things are happening and will continue. There will be no stoppage and nobody can stop it.

from:  venugopal
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 23:21 IST

This is not a news at all. Any news of honesty in such matters are only NEWS under the ruling of UPA Govt. I and II. This reminds me a Tamil proverb: People follow the King's way. In other words you get the Govt. YOU ( people) DESERVE.

from:  G.V.Venugopal
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 23:08 IST

Good that's a nice technique, An excellent blackmailing technique from Govt to blackmailers{pilots}. why wasn't this investigation/survey done earlier? what were u waiting for till this figure 160?

from:  kartik
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 22:31 IST

Whether the corrupt practice is being done by the politicians, bureaucrats, or the employees, the fare paying passengers are the sufferers as a result of poor performance by the Air India. Whoever they are a crime is a crime and there is no difference and they need to be punished. With the Government now providing resources to keep the Air India afloat people who have never seen the inside of an aircraft are paying for the misdeeds of those responsible for this malfunctioning of the State owned airline. Who is going to be made responsible and how does the government plan to get out of this mess. Does this Government have the courage and conviction to take strong punitive action. The highest powers that can do something are following 'Moun' (silence) and the pilots and other categories of staff have been teasing the administration knowing that no one in power in this Government will stand up to them and crush their indiscipline. Only God or the voter can make a change, so act now.

from:  R.Gopal
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 21:28 IST

It is time for the people of india to question the government on the need to sustain this airline on tax money. If the company cant pay for itself, it is time to sell it off or shut it down. As a tax payer, i highly disagree misusing my tax money. Competition in a open environment is the only way to. Improve quality of service. Pouring 30k crores into air india will do nothing good for the common man. If the govt recognizes that it needs to pay its travel bills, we don't need a public funded airline after all. Stop the looting. Use public money for good. I wish this airline is history.

from:  Hari
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 20:57 IST

Hello HINDU WHy not highlight how many times Praful Patel has used AI for his personal benefit and of his entire extended family. He is the man who has really shown everyone the way how to milk AIR INDIA. Also pls find out how many free tickets have been issued by AIR INDIA and to whom they have been issued , dont ONLY blame the employees they learn from their superiors

from:  Susan
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 20:50 IST

It is shocking that the employees were greedily milking the Airlines. But the question remains, what were the Higher Management doing all that time? Aren't they paid higher salaries to make sure this does not happen in a company? Now, what is the point of putting the blame on them when they have not been paid their salaries of some time.

from:  Vinod
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 19:59 IST

I heard from people familiar with PM' flight, whenever he attended some meeting at UN, the entourage accompanying him didn't know where to go and buy stuff like liquor etc in NY. I spoke to the person who was assigned by the company catering to AI flights in JFK-NY. The guy PA cadre person wanted to go shopping in a Taxpayer paid expense credit card for high value liquor. PM's flight does not follow any rules or regulations, so no 2 liquor bottles per person, so they can take as many as they want. They also went shopping for designer clothes. This is just not congress, but BJP as well, so the point is both of them are crooks. Watch the news programme Vidarbha-Truth Vs. Hype, The lie of the land. Maybe the congress can cause a ruckus about Gadkari as well about his connections to Power Plants in the Vidharba region. It does not sound appropriate for the BJP chief to have inappropriate connections to power plants just like PC to 2G Scam. The measuring stick shall be the same for both.

from:  Krishna S Bala
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 19:20 IST

Flew to Singapore a few months back in AI from Chennai- lady flight attendant was so rude.some queries in the gentlest way would provoke her to say all of you are teasing us for not being paid salary etc and other unwanted stuff.I could not understand this behavior at all. I for one feel AI has outlived it's life and time Govt allows it to die a natural death or invite tender for the takeover of the different assets like the land bank,MRO etc.

from:  Ramki
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 15:21 IST

The solution is not just to pump in more equity. That is throwing good money after bad. AI needs professional management. It cannot be run by babus and civil servants. Running an airline is not the same as running a district PWD. The best solution would be to privatise 74% of the company with a major foreign airline owning the majority of the shareholding in much the same way as Maruti was organised. In the end, the government has to realise that foreign boondoggles and getting free tickets for the family is NOT the way to go and that the airline needs a major revamp. AI's brand equity is negative at the moment. Nobody with a brain wants to fly this airline. This has to be revived, operations streamlined, the whole culture changed. This cannot happen with a babu in charge. Free up the company, for God's sake, and put the money into more badly needed projects.

from:  Sanjay
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 15:15 IST

The Hindu - Pls. don't go the TOI way. You along with other media agencies, govt. and corporates are trying to justify the imminent sell-off of the national airline carrier. I strongly believe that this whole crisis is deliberately created and then finally all the blame is put on the hapless employees, whose livelihood are at stake.160 cases of malpractice out of a total strength of 28500, i.e 0.6% cases, i don't think this will bring down any organization. By the way where is Praful Patel???????????? the real architect of this situation any news, any investigate piece on his role? Nothing every one is quite including The Hindu...this is really sad. Employees stealing liquor, caviar is news and needs disclosure and discussion in parliament....excellent job.

from:  Praveen Nair
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 15:05 IST

Lack of strict, long punishment has made us a lawless land. Even billion dollar criminals are out of jail in 18 months ! Air India was destroyed systematically by over - ordering airplanes. There should be pre-audit, not post audit. Auditor general should put in parliament each order over 1 crore rupees, and the cost benefit analysis should be made. Cant blame employees if they stole caviar in a country where ministers steal band width and go free.

from:  J Krishnan
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 14:28 IST

It's all down to two qualities of humans, honesty & integrity. Neither your financial situation or desperation is no excuse for stealing. This will not arise if their parents taught them that stealing is not an option even when you are dying let alone just pocketing something when you are unsupervised. India is overflowing with dishonest people at every level. Cheating in Mark sheets, Degree certificates, Caste certificates, Fake Medical Bills, Fake Travel Bills, Fake attendences. This is not only public sector, but also exists in private sector. I personally know instances when highly paid consultants in big companies fake attendance (giving attendance swipe cards to friends), inflated travel & medical bills. As long as we don't shed the attitude of mocking honest men and glorifying dishonest behavior, we will have to live with it. Start honesty at home with your kids, at least we can save the future.

from:  Hemnath
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 13:59 IST

A govt owned airline is a freebie/perk of the past and was abandoned by practically all the advanced democratic economies some 40 years ago. India must set AI/IA free to be run by private capital and management LIKE ALL THE OTHER AIRLINES! There is no national interest served by the Indian govt 'funding and running an airline for its party politicians, bureaucrats and their friends and relations'. It is a mature industry and there is little commercial justification for the Indian govt to be in the airlines business. An efficient govt concentrates on long/medium term strategy/direction, policy formulation, regulations in the public interest (safety, quality, pro-competition, fair treatment), and stays clear of day to day running of any industry.

from:  D Mahapatra
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 13:20 IST

It will be wrong to say only employees are responsible. It is the ministerial and babu interference in running the company, appointment of incompetent CMDs who paid bribes to get appointed are responsible. Ministers and babus made money in aircraft purchases. When all this was going on surely the employees washed their hands as well.

from:  S Prakash
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 13:20 IST

What is happening in Air India is not a new phenomenon and is still prevalent in every govt organisation in India, especially in the Indian Railways. Only difference is that this was investigated and that too because the organisation wants to get even with the striking employees. If the strike wasn't on this would have been brushed under there carpet. A little bit of introspection will allow us to realise our own 'cultural & social' values.

from:  G N Rajkumar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 13:02 IST

This is only publicly declared amount which is 150 crores, this is not only the problem with AI but also all babu's administered organisations which are having large scale irregularties, With this much active media and awaken masses, still these frauds are in practice and we the common man are only mute spectators, media should follow these news till the culprits are brought to Justice, there should be many sukhrams in jails for causing loss to exchequer.

from:  Syed Ali Abbas Baqueri
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 12:54 IST

AIR INDIA is for politicians, diplomats, AI employees and bureaucrats, and not for the general public and AI customers who pay tax for maintaining Air India. It is amply clear. This is the reason why AIR INDIA is not privatised yet. The present beneficiaries will not be able to enjoy more at taxpayer's cost!

from:  Ramakrishnan
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 11:37 IST

What is happening in the central government has been replicated in a small way by the AI staff. The old saying yatha raja tatha praja is being proved right so many times.

from:  Suresh Kumar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 10:52 IST

We Indians are shameless scoundrels when it comes to filling our own pockets. The country, the taxpayer or national pride is all in the dumps. Leave the innumerable politicians, all Babus and persons even in the most humble position must misuse it as if its a birth right and a privilege. There is no sense of dignity or pride in discharging one duty honestly we are morally bankrupt and in the pits !!! I have heard foreigners commenting "Create the perfect system in the world and entrust it to the Indians and they will screw it up !!! Fantastic !!!

from:  Avinash
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 09:48 IST

Shut the airline down and all this thievery of the nation will be cut off. These thieves are looting the taxpayer, no less. We have every reason to be angry. Don't throw them in jail and spend more money on them please. Just take away all they have stolen and kick them out of their jobs, then shut the airline down. Make a black list so that these thieves do not get jobs anywhere else.

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 09:44 IST

Time to sell-off AI/IA to private sector! AI/IA made sense in old
days when private sector was not vibrant, but post the economic
reforms it simply does not make sense for govt to own/run commercial
ventures and lose money due to inefficient business/operations model.
Give it to private sector, and I bet we'd see efficiency soaring!

from:  Venki K
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 09:33 IST

Air India is the worst mismanaged Airline in the world, with totally inefficient and Corrupt Pilots, Crew, Staff.This had been the reality for the past several decades. No body knows why this loss making useless airline should be revived with Rs 30,000 crores bail out from Public funds. Frankly speaking I dont want my tax to be misused like this and I feel several crores public also feel the same way. All the useless pilots and staff should be dismissed and this arline should be disinvested, so that the funds can be used for other efficient airlines who can do the job.

from:  Swamy
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 09:33 IST

seems the devil is reading the scripture. the politicians irrespeective
of any political parties are corrupt-right-down-to-core. they are
swindling in millions and billions and they are blaming only those who
are stealing in thousands...

from:  kajah mydeen
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 08:58 IST

National carrier is as good as a national burden, a waste of tax payer's
money.
Its is as good as a multi crore scam.

from:  Ankit jain
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 08:43 IST

This is just a symptom of the selfish society we are living in. Every
one, right from the top of the food chain is only there to look after
their interests and not care a lot about the organisation we work for
or the society we live in. Thirty years on, we will still be reading the same news article and nothing would have changed. The society needs a wholesale overhaul in its thinking and concern for the country.
In-house theft is not unique to Air India but the scale of it and the vested interests that have allowed the practice to continue without punishing the culprits is what makes reading this article really sad. Even if people are caught, they are let go due to the pressure applied by others (politicians included) and punishments are rarely meted out.

from:  Siva Kumar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 08:35 IST

This is not surprising. It happens in all PSU's. The basic problem is a lack of functional autonomy, with blatant political interference, which allows such malpractices. Unless PSU's are professionally run, this will continue to happen. As for Air India, merger of Indian Airlines and Air India was a disastrous decision, which destroyed both airlines. Considering that corporates are openly influencing the government, the role of the then Aviation Minister needs to be probed, particularly his motives, as Praful Patel is a businessman.

from:  Balaji Krishnamurthy
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 07:56 IST

We used to travel by AI during our flights between India and USA. I personally experienced inconvenience when the airline decided to delay flight from London to New York by half hour and passengers were asked to check into a hotel at the airlines cost. At that time this incident was obvious to many passengers that it was a ploy by Air India officers and the hotel management. The passengers were helpless. How can an airline run honestly and economically when this kind of ripping off is taking place without no questions asked. I and my family showed protest by taking our business to another airline since then.

from:  Dr. Lux
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 07:49 IST

Bogus attendance, inflated bills and overtime claims etc etc are not the problem of only Air india.These are the problems we can find in each and every department of India either electricity or phone or postal or oil companies or food corporation or seed corporation or PWD etc etc.We cannot solve these problems. One thing comes in my mind that is take a good study here and escape from the country and never come to this corrupt country.

from:  SIDDHARTHA SINGH
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 07:40 IST

This is shocking that highest paid employees have been found resorting to such unacceptable tecniques of amassing money. No department, ministry and public institution has been left behind competing for making money illegaly. Tax payers hard earned money are being criminally usurped by country's employees whose jobs are safe and secure as compared to tens of millions of farmers and other citizens toiling hard to eke out a living. Government's standard reply to institute inquiry and anyone found guilty will be severely punished. While inquiry would cost several lakhs of rupees and none will be punished. Are Ministers accountable to people?

from:  Dr Amrit Patel
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 07:37 IST

There are scams worth crores happening in higher level contracts. This report stands a nice
eg of "penny wise, pound foolish".

from:  Suresh
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 07:25 IST

As read the article we understand that all these malpractice happens
because of the ministry's administration.The minister at least should
know how many wings are there for Air India and Indian Airlines.
He, a single person is responsible for all the loss because of the
strike because the reason of strike must have to be solved within a
day is a wise decision .But for solving the problem he each minuit fortifies it as just like an allergenic person. No money is taken from
his pocket to solve the pilot's increment of salary. And no money is
loosing from his own pocket when the loss come in the highest rate !
He should show responsibility to the nation at least.This elongation
of time to solve problems, loss of public money, public nuisance are
because of the minister's disability. Minister and Prime Minister
should be convicted.They have money to buy unwanted air planes for
defense one lac crore for 126 planes.

from:  Hariharan.D
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 07:10 IST

Wow! what a shame that trusted employees milked the company dry ! Dont waste time arrest them and award stringent punishment so that it sends right message to would be culprits ! No wonder the Babus and assistants take law into own hands and collect bribes cool and confident NO action would be taken by authorities ! Top level may also get exposed eh !
Time we closed the airline and asked private enterprise to take charge!

from:  Radhik Hairam
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 05:57 IST

It is extremely unfair to blame the employees for the woes of Air India. The HIndu beter do a bit of investigative journalism and find out 1. The number of free tickets were given in the last ten years, classified destination wise 2. The names, aldresses and occupation of the persons to whom the free ticket were issued 3. The price of these tickets based on the price at which these are sold to General Sales Agents/consolidators, even if one does not wish to take the -published fare, so that the actual revenue to Air India is better calculated, 4. The number of hotel vouchers issued by air India in Indian and International Hotels 5.The names, addresses and occupation of the recipients. 6. The actual bills settled by air India. That will be a true measure of who benefited most, the employee who may have been guilty of taking a few miniature nottles of liquoer etc or the wholesale loot by the un-named.: Let the RTI be invoked.

from:  Ceeoren
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 05:35 IST

Shut the Airline down... It is a very big cash cow and it is sucking in more of the money that could be utilized in a much more efficient manner serving the public in other useful ways. Do not, from this point on try and revive this airline.

from:  Srihari Lakshmikumar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 03:55 IST

I must say Pilots and all employees of Air India were treated like Maharajas though not the passangers. What a country and what a airline! They stole from tax payers just like our Maharajas did.

from:  Lax Sarkar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 03:44 IST

That is why Karl Marx theory of communism failed disastrously in Soviet Union and communist East Europe. State owned properties will inevitably meet such fate.

from:  Syed
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 03:20 IST

poor people steal petty things get thrashed and sometime even die. and here, the government pumps tens of thousands of crores in to a system for a bunch of already filthy rich group to steal
seriously, is there anything to feel proud about being an indian anymore ?
despite all our great heritage, we today as a society no more have any values, ethics, concern for poor/weak.
if as a society we are truly concerned about others, we would stop deplorable act as manual scavenging with immediate effect. not draw up a plan to phase it out in 8 months. would we allow a family member to languish in deplorable state ?

if well-off members of sc/st/mbc etc had true concern for the uplift of the disadvantaged, they would forgo their reservations or opt for it once after the poorer sections of the society have been given their share

we seem to have lost the sensitivity as a society while the already rich and powerful go on unleashing their influence to make themselves further richer.

God!

from:  Sankar
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 03:02 IST

If British Airways could privatize , why not Air India ?

from:  Raja
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 02:52 IST

i dont know whats wrong with we indians,,,,,we call our goevernment
corrupt and not fit to rule us but we ourself are knee deep in
corruption,,wonder its in our genes or something..

from:  Dr. kamal
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 02:41 IST

A close friend of mine joined Air India as senior captain.On a particular day in the flight from Bombay to London he asked the head steward "What is the occupancy" Sir, it is full, we will be having a tough and restless time throughout the 8 hours" The same pilot later joined another Far east airlines flying from Singapore to London.when he queried the head steward for the occupancy he was replied "" Sir it is wonderful, the flight is full-- and we can devote the whole 10 hours in looking after the passengers-we have the manifest so we can address them by their names"

from:  Sankaran.S.
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 02:18 IST

Why this comes out after 30000 crore balout and only few caught? No one finds out till
thousands of crore are missing. Please put some honest people in position or give
incentive to whistle blower 10percent of money saved from Bigining.where were anti
corruption bearue was or minister was when air India lost so much money. Why no one
check that otter airlines making money and air India loosing money?

from:  Praful v
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 01:41 IST

Why this comes out after 30000 crore bailout and only few caught? No one finds out till thousands of crore are missing. Please put some honest people in position or give incentive to whistle blower 10 percent of money saved from Beginning.

from:  Praful v
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 01:37 IST


After this investigation if these corrupted, treacherous Air India
officials and cabin crew are not sacked and put behind grills
following proper trials the government must step down.In a country
where a huge section of people is below poverty line government is
pampering and patronizing these traitors for years.A beggar when
steals a loaf in our country is either grilled or beaten to death
whereas these looters are awarded with highest level of salaries and
promotions depriving this motherland.Let not the government surrender
to their permanent demand trap and punish the offenders to set an
example to the rest and open recruitment chances to new, young and
honest staffs and pilots removing the rotten ones. I urge The Hindu to
go ahead in their mission to awake the Indians against the corruption
as our mother bleeds even after sixty five years of independence. Jai
Hind.

from:  Dipankar Bhattacharyya
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 01:35 IST

Why Government is taking all kinds of headaches pumping public money rather selling it to some one?Mr.Ajit Singh should resign immediatly he has been proven incompetant to handle the situation particulerly constant loss.

from:  patriot
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 00:21 IST

It would be a shame on the part of a country as big as India not to have
a state owned airline,but its high time gov get rid of this costly
affair.
Even if govt want to sell it,who would dare to buy ??

from:  Mukesh
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 00:11 IST

This is a great opportunity to shut down this NATIONAL DISGRACE permanently. Those who ask " What about the thousands of employees who will be out of work " , the answer is with another question " What about the millions of helpless passengers ( Indians and others ) who have been held ransom, abused, misused and treated like dirt by this Airline , the past 40 years ? ". as for those staff who will lose their jobs, they can be paid some compensation and told to go home and the Airline can be given a permanent burial once and for all.

from:  Suresh
Posted on: May 20, 2012 at 00:03 IST

Mr. Ajit Singh,Please make public statement about the, Managing director of Air-India in league with the Civil aviation ministry sold Prime real estate of Air-India in London Heathrow, London city office Rome, Perth, Sydney, Zurich Frakfurt Kuala Lumpur and Many Many more cities around the World were sold for a song. Its a shame pointing to the employees pilferage.
Why was the Air-India Aircraft sent to California to Paint the Aircraft and change the Maharaja logo to Sun logo for Millions of dollars , instead of changing outdated computers and Infight galley equipment.For better service of Pax.

from:  harish kranti
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 22:44 IST

Going by the heading "As Air India struggled for cash and occupancy, its employees milked it dry" it is very easy to put juicy comments .. it makes it interesting and sold well in the market. I just thought I should highlight a simple calculation. 160 reported cases..out of 28000 employees?? Percentage? Over what span?? Whenever I go to a Govt/ Semi Govt organisation I find a board which says "If some one ask for bribe etc. etc." .. What were the concerned vigilance team doing? Sucking thumbs?? Can you get a comparative statement of other PSUs, Govt Offices and Private ones? Rs.30,000 crore government bailout...over how many years? Friends, go to the actual reason for the downfall of the empire. Don't just throw reasons to prove a point. Over decade the two companies are being headed by IAS officers? Before they got in, were the companies in red?? I know there is no answer to these. Because your news wont sell.

from:  Amit
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 22:23 IST

This is what happens when no one is in charge. This is the state of the government and PSUs as a whole. We need less government, not more. Let the private sector handle business, and let charities do welfare. We should wonder why our PSU engineers cannot produce a decent truck or an aircraft despite a lot of money going into them.

from:  Thomas George
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 22:04 IST

Please do not waste any more tax payers' money on this disastrous airline. Only solution is to privatize the airline and let it sink or swim the same way as Kingfisher airline. It is almost criminal policy to think that a poor country like India sinking under the burden of subsidy can afford to fly a perennially loss making airline flying at the expense of urgent needs like primary education or healthcare for the masses, heck even work for food program is a better way to spend money than trying to prop up this airline.

from:  Jitendra Dutta
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 21:50 IST

I am a management professor and I have no ideological reservations about having
a needed public sector enterprise around. However, a public enterprise is needed
only when: (a) It meets the needs of the people that private enterprises is not
willing to or able to meet (b) Has huge capital requirements and long gestation periods that patient capital is not available from the private sector, and (c) National security concerns are involved (d) The government sector has the skills and knowledge to run the enterprise that is hard for private sector does not possess. Pray, which of these conditions does Air India meet? I am personally familiar with Air India employees finding seats for members of their extended family using employee passes by bumping off fare paying passengers from fully booked flights. Air India proposed 30% discount to other public sector employees at a time, when most flights had near full occupancy? Which marketing guru dreamed up that strategy? Privatize Air India Today.

from:  B. S. Sridhar
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 21:39 IST

Its really a shame that people who have high profile, white-colored jobs are also involved in such things as pilferage and misconducts.The question is not of value or importance or loss to the govt exchequer, but it is about the integrity of an individual.
Again the question is whether we are loosing rapidly our values and tradition? Are we not becoming pray to pseudo-materilistic culture? We all claim that the government should go for austerity measure to curb the fiscal deficit and lights our candle behind Anna Hazare, but on the other hand we go for strikes on the issue of high salary and perks, inspite of having already a very good salary.
We should compare our average income with the average income of the nation to understand our status.

from:  Azaz Hafiz Mani
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 21:17 IST

This news however nauseating should surprise none. Years of
mismanagements and heavy political interference is taking its
natural toll. Only brighter aspect is the company is on the slippery
slope towards self-destruction and tax payer will heave a sigh of
relief good riddance. Air India is classic case study of failure of Government in the business of doing thing which are best left to private sector genius. Public sectors throughout the world always well-meaning to start with by putting people interest first but invariably ending up putting people second bureaucrats first by continuing activities long after the economic changes made them undesirable superfluous and resented. Leaders in public life claim to act selflessly but in practice they put their personal interest first.

from:  N.G. Krishnan
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 20:32 IST

Every public sector units including Railways are a can of worms infected with layers of scams running into trillions of rupees. Yet, Govt supported by leftists would call them Navaratnas & holy cow that cannot be let loose of its clutches. How likes of BSNL & Air India rots in the face of competition is a tale with no lessons or morals for the Netas who have a share in the loot.

from:  S V Raghavan
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 20:21 IST

Another example of how crooks take advantage of sarkari firms. Severe
punishment should be awarded to those found guilty. Or will they too go
scot-free?

from:  A Y Awomi
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 20:03 IST

Air India staff's retirement benefits are one of a kind in this world. Their free passes can be made available to any member of the famiily, including married daughters, siblings, etc. I know an officer who retired from AI who more than 25 years back. He gets 4 sets of business class passes which are used by his children who are in their fifties and sister in her seventies. Such lavish perks are alos a drain on the airline. Many airlines do not allow passes in first and business classes.

from:  venkat
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 20:02 IST

These malpractices began many years ago at Air-India, co-inciding with
the rise in political and bureaucratic corruption in India. So it is
nothing new. A once great airline has been reduced to a shambles, not
for want of money, but for want of leadership and patriotism among the
people who run the airline (employees, politicians and their families).
Nearly 30 years ago, one of my late relatives resigned from a top position in Air-India, which he had served with distinction since the early 1950's. The sad story he had to tell is that even those whom he once trained and mentored in the airline were now openly corrupt and berating him for not "joining in!" He told me he could not in all conscience continue working for such a place, and thus voted with his feet!
The one silver lining I see in this and similar stories is that investigating agencies in India have increased their profile. Only vigorous prosecution of wrong-doers can save India for its future generations.

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 19:59 IST
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