Friday, January 11, 2019

Top DGCA official also drew a salary from Air India

Mumbai: The cash-strapped national carrier Air India paid close to Rs one crore in salary to the chief flight operations inspector (CFOI) of the civil aviation watchdog DGCA in a case of financial misconduct that it would find hard to explain. Captain Atul Chandra too would find it difficult to explain why he quietly drew salaries simultaneously from two government organisations—Air India and DGCA—in 2017-18.

Chandra was a joint GM in Air India till January 2017, when he joined the DGCA on deputation as the CFOI. In his new role, he headed the Flight Standards Directorate, which issues crucial operating certificates and authorisations to airlines and charter companies.

“The CFOI and other flight operations inspectors are deputed to the DGCA from airlines. To avoid conflict of interest, they are not paid any emoluments from their parent organisations. ,” said a source.

But despite being employed with the DGCA, Capt Chandra continued to draw a salary from Air India. “From the DGCA, Capt Chandra drew a monthly salary of Rs 8-9 lakh, while from AI he would have drawn about Rs 5-6 lakh per month for a year and a half since January 2017—when he joined DGCA as CFOI,” said a source. “It is hard to believe that he did not realize that he was being paid by two organisations. It questions his integrity,” the source added.

Air India refused to comment on the matter. Capt Chandra too did not respond to a query sent by TOI.

A source close to Chandra, requesting anonymity, said, “Chandra contacted AI a few months ago and began the process of paying back the salary he received from Air India.” The source also claimed that Chandra had since paid back most of the “double salary” he had drawn.

“However, despite numerous requests, the airline hasn’t yet given him clarity on the amount he needs to pay back. Since he has paid taxes on the salary he received from Air India, the finance department needs to resolve the issue,” the source added.
11/01/19 Manju V/Times of India