An Air India probe committee on Friday gave a clean chit to the commander of a flight from Sharjah, who was involved in a mid-air altercation with an air hostess, on charges of sexual harassment.

In another case also, the airline rejected charges of sexual harassment against Captain Devi Sharan, who had commanded the Indian Airlines aircraft that was hijacked to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1999.

“The complaints committee on sexual harassment was of the opinion that the allegations of sexually coloured behaviour on the part of Captj. Ranbir Arora were baseless and appeared to have been made as an after-thought in a planned and rehearsed strategy,” Deepa Mahajan, Air India’s General Manager (Personnel), said in a release.

The committee went into the complaint against Capt. Arora and, after a preliminary enquiry into the altercation on board flight IC 884 from Sharjah to Delhi earlier this month concluded that it was “not substantiated,” she said.

The five-member committee, which included a representative of an NGO, was set up on October 6 to investigate the mid-air scuffle between co-pilot Aditya Chopra and flight purser Amit Khanna, during which the air hostess was reportedly pushed by Capt. Arora.

Air India then suspended Mr. Khanna and Mr. Chopra, pending enquiry.

Flight safety issue

The airline said the altercation that ensued in the cockpit was a flight safety issue and all the four employees involved were chargesheeted, a regular departmental inquiry would be conducted and disciplinary action taken as per standing orders.

Air India said that in the other case, an air hostess in Air India’s subsidiary, Alliance Air, complained of sexual harassment by Capt. Devi Sharan.

Ms. Mahajan said the complaint, dating back to 1996-97, against Capt. Sharan had not been elaborated and did not fall within the purview of “sexual harassment.”

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