Thursday, April 27, 2017

What action against senior AI pilot for forging docs: HC asks

The Delhi High Court today asked Air India what action has it taken against a senior pilot for making an alleged false entry in a pre-flight medical test register, when he took no alcohol test before take-off.

Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva termed such conduct as "a serious issue" as the pilot was being promoted to the post of Director (Operations) in the Board of Air India Ltd (AIL) and would be ultimately responsible for all safety-related issues.

"He forges documents. On such a serious issue, what has Air India done about it? Ultimately when he is promoted, he is going to be responsible for overall safety," the court observed.

It also asked the state-run carrier why such conduct was not brought to the attention of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

The judge did not appear to accept the argument on behalf of the pilot, Captain Arvind Kathpalia, that the doctor who was present in the medical room had "entrapped" him into entering his details into the pre-flight register.

The court questioned how such a senior officer could be intimidated or entrapped by the doctor to enter his details in the pre-flight register.

The judge also wondered why would such a senior officer enter his details into the pre-flight register when he never took the pre-flight breathalyser test and had gone to the medical unit only after flying back from Bengaluru.

According to the plea of the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) opposing Kathpalia's promotion, the senior AI pilot flew a plane to Bengaluru from Delhi without taking the mandatory breathalyser test and then operated the return flight also without taking a test.

Thereafter, he had proceeded to forge the pre-flight medical register in Delhi after arriving back here, the petitioners have alleged.
26/04/17 PTI/DNA