IndiGo staff manhandle passenger at Delhi airport: Govt seeks report from airline over incident

Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha condemned the assault on a traveller by IndiGo staff at the Delhi airport, in a series of tweets and said the government has sought a report from the airline.

"IndiGo passenger incident from 15 October is deplorable and unfortunate. Passenger safety and security is our top-most priority. The Ministry of Civil Aviation has already asked for a detailed report from Indigo by tomorrow," Sinha tweeted.

The minister said that he will also meet the passenger. "We hope the passenger will file a criminal complaint. This will enable us to take appropriate action," he said in another tweet.

According to a Business Times report, Sinha spoke to IndiGo's founder Rahul Bhatia and sought a detailed report of the incident. He also added that once Rajeev Katyal, who was assaulted by the IndiGo staff files a criminal complaint against the employees, they would lose their security clearance for airport passes and will no longer be able to work in the aviation industry.

According to PTI, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju also condemned the incident and said that action will be taken.

A video of Katyal being brutally assaulted by IndiGo staff at the Delhi airport had surfaced on Tuesday.

In the video, a passenger (identified as Katyal) is first seen being stopped from entering a coach, then pulled back by a ground staff. Another airline employee is seen restraining him. Katyal fought back and fell to the ground in the melee. The incident happened on 15 October.

 IndiGo staff manhandle passenger at Delhi airport: Govt seeks report from airline over incident

File image of an Indigo Airlines flight. Reuters.

"I was standing in the shade of a plane when a ground staff started shouting at me in a very rude manner. I asked him why don't you arrange the third bus for which we are waiting. Meanwhile, when the bus came two people said let's teach him a lesson and one of them pulled me out of the bus," Katyal had told a television channel.

A Delhi police official on Tuesday had said that they received a call from the police control room about the incident but no one filed a complaint.

"There was an altercation between IndiGo staff, and passenger, Rajeev Katyal, due to a misunderstanding. The matter was amicably resolved," said DCP IGI, Sanjay Bhatia.

IndiGo president and whole time director Aditya Ghosh, on Wednesday, apologised and said that stern action was taken against the staff.

An IndiGo statement quoted Ghosh as saying that he had apologised to the passenger.

"I acknowledge the unpleasant experience our passenger went through while engaging with our staff at Delhi airport. My personal apologies... this doesn't reflect our culture. I had personally spoken to the passenger and asked for an apology," a statement from IndiGo quoted Ghosh.

The IndiGo president had also said the airline had inquired into the incident and action was taken against the staff, he said without specifying was measure was taken.

"Any act that compromises the dignity of either (passenger or the staff) is of a serious concern to us. Under the code of conduct violation, this incident was investigated and stern action was taken against the staff. Once again my personal and sincere apologies to the affected passenger," the statement added. Meanwhile, according to media reports, Montu Kalra, an IndiGO ground staff, who was said to have shot the video, was sacked after the incident.

Former Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani, who now heads the Railway Board, waded into the row and hit out at IndiGo for the "disgusting" and "inhuman" act. He added, "The subsequent action of the airline in sacking the whistleblower is the icing on the cake of gross misconduct."

This incident comes two days after Olympic silver medalist shuttler PV Sindhu accused an IndiGo staffer of misbehaving with her. In India, the aviation ministry unveiled rules for a no-fly list for unruly passengers that imposed a ban on flying from three months to a lifetime. However, the rules do not deal with misconduct by airline staff.

Earlier this year a passenger, Dr David Dao, was dragged out of a United Airlines plane at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport as the airline needed to free up seats for flying crew members, triggering an outrage, with passengers threatening to boycott the airline. A video showed Dao bleeding profusely from his mouth after three airport security officials grappled with him.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Nov 08, 2017 12:49:02 IST