Delhi

Police restrained from taking coercive steps against Kathpalia

AI pilot is accused of evading breathalyser test, forgery

The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained the police from taking coercive steps against Air India pilot Arvind Kathpalia, accused of violating aircraft rules, including evading breathalyser test and forgery.

Justice Mukta Gupta asked Mr. Kathpalia to join the Delhi Police probe and appear before the Investigating Officer on Friday morning.

Mr. Kathpalia was removed as the Air India director of operations last month after failing to clear preflight alcohol test, with the government citing the “serious nature of the transgression and [his] failure to course correct”.

The High Court had on December 13 said his actions cannot be called a mistake as they put at risk the lives of many and people like him were not worth being permitted to operate flights.

According to the police, Mr. Kathpalia operated a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru without undergoing the mandatory preflight breathalyser test on January 19, 2017. Further, he refused to undergo a similar test at Bengaluru.

On his arrival in New Delhi, he allegedly went to the preflight medical examination room and made a false entry in the preflight breathalyser examination register for the flight he had operated.

The counsel for Mr. Kathpalia claimed it was a false complaint made against him by the Indian Pilots’ Commercial Association and his career of over 30 years had been impacted.

The Delhi Police had opposed his anticipatory bail plea saying it was not a normal case of forgery as the consequences were grave, and that Mr. Kathpalia had also threatened a doctor on duty.

A trial court had earlier directed the police to lodge an FIR for alleged violation of aircraft rules, tampering with evidence and intimidating a doctor working with Air India in January 2017.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 3:40:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/police-restrained-from-taking-coercive-steps-against-kathpalia/article25793269.ece

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