Urination incident on flight: Delhi Police summons Air India staff, father of accused

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police on Friday issued summons to Air India staff, including the pilot and the co-pilot, present on board the New York-Delhi flight on which a passenger allegedly urinated on a co-passenger.
News agency PTI, quoting sources, said the staff have been asked to appear at the office of deputy commissioner of police (airport) on Saturday at 10.30 am.
Summons have also been issued to the father of the accused.

According to sources, the Air India staff were issued summons for Friday, but they didn’t appear.
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.
The woman has accused the crew of being “deeply unprofessional” and has said they were not proactive in managing a “very sensitive and traumatic situation”.
DGCA issues advisory for airlines
The development comes hours after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) rebuked airlines for their failure to act against unruly passengers in recent days.
The regulator said that the manner in which airlines have handled such cases has “tarnished the image of air travel”.
The DGCA also reiterated the responsibility of individuals — pilot-in-command, cabin crew and director in-flight services — towards handling of unruly passengers under various provisions of Aircraft Rules, 1937, DGCA regulations, circulars and manuals of airlines approved/ accepted by the regulator.

“Head of operations are hereby advised to sensitise pilots, cabin crew and director-in-flight services of their respective airlines on the topic of handling of unruly passenger through appropriate means under intimation to DGCA,” the advisory stated.
Any non-compliance towards applicable regulations will be dealt with strictly and invite enforcement action, the regulator added.
Under the norms, if an airline finds a passenger’s behaviour unruly, the pilot-in-command has to file a complaint, which is to be investigated by an internal panel.
During the probe, the airline can ban the flyer for a maximum of 30 days. The committee has to decide on the matter within 30 days and specify how long the flyer can be kept from travelling. If the panel fails to give a decision within the stipulated time, the passenger is free to fly.

‘Victim had demanded payment and it was made’
Shyam Mishra — the father of the accused — said in his son’s defence: “I don’t think he would do it. She (the victim) is a 72-year-old woman, she is like his mother. He (the accused, his son) is a 34-year-old man. How can he do it? He is married and has an 18-year-old daughter.”
He further said that Shankar Mishra — his son — had not slept for 30-35 hours and might have slept after consuming the drink given by the crew.
“From what I understand, he was questioned by airline staff after he woke up,” the father said.
He also said that the victim (a 72-year-old woman) had demanded payment and it was made to her.
“Don’t know what happened next. Must’ve demanded something that perhaps wasn’t met that upset her. Perhaps there was blackmailing, there must be something,” he added.

Air India tells staff to report all improper behaviour
In an internal communication, Air India CEO Campbell Wilson told the airline staff to report any improper behaviour on aircraft to authorities at the earliest even if the matter appears to have been settled.
Wilson wrote the communication to employees after aviation safety regulator DGCA slammed the Tata Group airline, saying that its conduct was “unprofessional” and led to the “systematic failure” on the New York-Delhi flight incident, which it did not report to the DGCA.

“We must also be clear on the standard of behaviour that is expected on our aircraft and take firm, decisive and timely action against those who do not comply,” he added.
In addition, Air India is reviewing its standing instructions to crew on the reporting of such incidents to authorities on arrival, including in scenarios where the alleged victim does not wish such a report to be made.
A second incident has also been confirmed by the airline on flight AI 142 from Paris to Delhi on December 6, 2022, saying a passenger “relieved himself on the vacant seat and blanket of a fellow passenger, when the latter was in the lavatory. The crew identified and isolated the offender and reported the incident to authorities.”
‘Was forced to confront the accused’
According to the FIR on the New York-New Delhi flight incident, shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off on board AI 102 of 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.

The woman 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 her complaint to Air India.
Detailing the incident, Air India had told DGCA that its cabin crew received a complaint from a female passenger on board AI 102 on November 26, 2022, that a male co-passenger had soiled her clothes and bags by relieving himself near the seat she was in.
The crew assisted the female passenger to a different seat in the same class and provided a set of dry clothes and slippers.
The female passenger initially requested that action be taken against the offender upon arrival. However, subsequently, she rescinded her request after the two parties appeared to have sorted the matter out between them, Air India told DGCA.
(With inputs from agencies)
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