Air India on Tuesday suspended Commander Ranbir Arora and Flight Purser Amit Khanna after an enquiry panel held them guilty of playing a major role in the mid-air scuffle that led an air hostess of the flight to lodge a molestation case with the police.
The airline also decided to set up a committee to probe the molestation complaint lodged by air hostess Komal Singh against Arora and co-pilot Aditya Chopra, an Air India spokesperson said.
Komal and Chopra would continue to remain de-rostered till this committee, which would also include an NGO representative, completes its enquiry.
The three-member enquiry panel, which submitted its report on the October 3 incident in flight IC-884 from Sharjah to Delhi via Lucknow, found that Arora and Khanna had played "greater role" in the incident.
While the "attitude" of the flight purser led to the altercation which later blew up into a scuffle, the behaviour of the flight's commander Arora, who pushed the air hostess out of the cockpit, was "objectionable", the probe panel found.
On the basis of the findings of the enquiry committee, the Air India management, after examining the probe report, decided to suspend Arora and Khanna and issue charge sheets against them as per company rules, the spokesperson said.
The extent of their involvement and culpability would be determined by a departmental enquiry to ascertain the facts and circumstances that led to the incident.
On the basis of its findings, the quantum of punishment to be given to Arora and Khanna would be decided, he said.
The enquiry also concluded that at no point of time did the two pilots leave the cockpit unmanned endangering flight safety, the spokesperson said.
The air hostess, who has already registered an FIR with the city police charging two pilots with molestation and assault during a mid-air scuffle, moved the National Commission for Women (NCW) and registered her complaint. The NCW, on its part, has sought a report from the airline.
Following Komal's complaint, Delhi Police registered a case against the pilots under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 354 (assault or use of criminal force against a woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
The incident occurred in the cockpit of flight IC-884 on Saturday and is understood to have started after the verbal exchanges during the pre-flight briefing session ahead of take-off from Sharjah. PTI