‘Peeing’ on flight: Delhi Police summons Air India staff on Saturday

The Air India staff, including pilot and co-pilot, have been summoned at the office of deputy commissioner of police (airport) on Saturday, January 7, 2023, at 10.30 am.

January 06, 2023 02:07 pm | Updated January 07, 2023 02:16 am IST - New Delhi

Image for representational purposes only.

Image for representational purposes only. | Photo Credit: VELANKANNI RAJ

The Delhi Police has summoned Air India staff in connection with the incident in which a passenger allegedly urinated on a co-passenger onboard a flight from New York to Delhi, sources said on Friday.

According to the sources, the Air India staff, including pilot and co-pilot, were issued summons for Friday, but they didn’t appear. Now, they have been summoned at the office of deputy commissioner of police (airport) on Saturday, January 7, 2023, at 10.30 am.

Police on Wednesday registered an FIR and formed several teams to nab the accused passenger.

The accused, Shankar Mishra, had urinated on his co-passenger, a senior citizen in her seventies, allegedly in an inebriated condition in the business class of the Air India flight on November 26 last year.

Mishra is the vice president of the India Chapter of an American multinational financial services company headquartered in California.

A police officer said that teams have been sent to Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The office of the accused is situated in Bengaluru and it was found in primary investigation that he was working from home, the officer said, adding that police are conducting raids to nab him.

Victim says crew made her negotiate with perpetrator

Meanwhile, the elderly woman who complained about a male co-passenger urinating on her during an Air India flight in November had informed the crew that she did not want to see his face and was "stunned" when the offender was brought before her and "started crying and profusely apologising".

According to the Delhi Police's FIR against the accused, he also begged her to not lodge a complaint, saying he was a family man and did not wish his wife and child to be affected by the incident.

The victim alleged that despite her unwillingness, she was forced to confront the accused and negotiate with him, further disorienting her, according to the FIR registered on Wednesday based on the victim's complaint to Air India.

According to the FIR, shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off onboard AI 102 on November 26, the inebriated male passenger seated in Business Class seat 8A walked to the elderly woman's seat, unzipped his pants and urinated on her.

He kept standing there until the person sitting next to the woman told him to go back, at which point he "staggered back to his seat".

"I immediately got up to notify the stewardess of what had happened. My clothes, shoes, and bag were soaked in urine. The bag contained my passport, travel documents, and currency. The flight staff refused to touch them, sprayed my bag and shoes with disinfectant, took me to the bathroom, and gave me a set of airline pajamas and socks.

"I asked the staff for a change of seat but was told that no other seats were available. However, another business class passenger who had witnessed my plight and was advocating for me pointed out that there were seats available in first class," the victim was quoted as saying in the FIR.

After standing for 20 minutes, the victim was offered a small seat used by airline staff where she sat for about two hours. She was then asked to return to her own seat. When she refused, the victim was offered the steward's seat for the rest of the journey, the FIR stated.

Later, the flight staff informed the victim that the offender wanted to apologize to her. In response, she said that she did not wish to interact with him or see his face and wanted him to be arrested on arrival.

"...However, the crew brought the offender before me against my wishes and we were made to sit opposite each other in the crew seats. I was stunned when he started crying and profusely apologizing to me, begging me not to lodge a complaint against him because he is a family man and did not want his wife and child to be affected by this incident.

"In my already distraught state, I was further disoriented by being made to confront and negotiate with the perpetrator of the horrific incident in close quarters," the FIR stated.

The woman also accused the crew of being "deeply unprofessional" and said they were not proactive in managing a "very sensitive and traumatic situation".

She added that her son-in-law sent a complaint to Air India on November 27 and the airline had agreed to reimburse the ticket. However, it has only issued a partial refund that, she said, was "hardly sufficient compensation for my traumatic experience".

A lookout circular has been issued against the accused to prevent him from fleeing the country, the police said, adding that efforts were being taken to nab him.

Based on the victim's complaint, a case was registered under sections 294 (obscene act in public place), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 510 (misconduct in public by a drunken person) of the Indian Penal Code as well as under Aircraft Rules.

The airline on Wednesday said it had imposed a 30-day flying ban on the accused passenger and set up an internal panel to probe whether there were lapses on part of the crew in addressing the situation.

Air India CEO Campbell Wilson, in an internal communication to employees, told airline staff to report any improper behaviour on aircraft to authorities at the earliest even if the matter appeared to have been settled.

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