Man Accused of Urinating on Elderly Air India Passenger Granted Bail

Team Parvasi – Inside

Shankar Mishra, the man accused of urinating on an elderly woman during an Air India flight has been granted bail by a Delhi court. The incident that took place on November 26 last year raised a lot of questions about the way Air India handled the situation. Mishra was arrested about six weeks after the incident.

Patiala House Court found that the complainant’s statement and the statement of the witness did not align. The judge said, “The witness you (investigation agency) have named are not deposing in your favour… There is a contradiction in the complainant’s statement and Ila Benarjee’s (witness) statement.”

The Delhi police opposed this decision stating that the act has defamed India internationally. The judge responded by saying that even though the act may be disgusting, that is a different matter and the issue at hand needs to be dealt by law. It was also alleged that Mishra did not cooperate with the investigation and switched off all his mobile phones.

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On November 26, during a New York to New Delhi Air India flight, Shankar Mishra in an inebriated state walked over to an elderly female passenger and started urinating. The crew allegedly did not confront him even after the flight landed in Delhi and Mishra was allowed to walk free. The next day, the victim wrote a letter to the chairman of Air India group after which a police complaint was filed against Mishra on January 4. He was arrested two days later and a 30-day flight ban was imposed, after which another four months were added to the ban.

On January 11, a magisterial court denied bail to Mishra, calling the act “utterly disgusting and repulsive.” The Directorate General of Civil Aviation fined the airline Rs. 30 lahk and also suspended the pilot’s license for three months for the way the situation was handled. Additionally, a penalty of Rs. 3 lahk was imposed on the director-in-flight services for “failing to discharge her duties.”

Air India believes that the license suspension of the pilot was “excessive” and that it will be assisting the pilot in filing an appeal. However, following the incident, Air India derostered the cabin crew, a move that was criticized by the All India’s Cabin Crew Association (AICCA). The association demanded that the decision should be rolled back. It also acknowledged that what happened to the pilot was an “unusually harsh punishment.”

Vineet Washington


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