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AI urinating incident: Accused apologised, urged victim to not lodge complaint, states FIR

The documents show that the crew brought the intoxicated passenger to the seat of the female passenger and forced him to apologize, so that he could avoid arrest.

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: An important revelation has come to light in the case of an elderly co-passenger allegedly urinating on an Air India flight from New York to Delhi in November last year. The documents show that the crew brought the intoxicated passenger to the seat of the female passenger and forced him to apologize, so that he could avoid arrest.

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The woman had written to Air India Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran on November 27, a day after the incident on the New York-Delhi flight. However, in this matter, Air India lodged a complaint with the police on January 4 at 12 noon. This has been revealed from the FIR lodged against the accused Mumbai businessman.

Victim’s allegations
The victim alleged that despite her unwillingness, the airline staff forced her to negotiate with the accused, further disorientating her, according to the FIR. Shortly after lunch was served and the lights were switched off onboard AI 102 on November 26, the male passenger seated in Business Class seat 8A walked to the elderly woman’s seat, unzipped his pants and urinated on her, the FIR stated.

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, and took me to the bathroom and gave me a set of airline pyjamas 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.

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Later, the flight staff informed the victim that the offender wanted to apologise 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 apologising 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. 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.

Air India’s response to the incident
Air India 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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