Moneycontrol PRO

MC Exclusive | Whiff of instigation, contradictory versions emerge in Air India pee-gate event

The report seems to suggest that one passenger may have been an instigator in the matter. A statement of a passenger also runs contrary to the statement made by the complainant

January 18, 2023 / 10:57 AM IST
Air India pee-gate fiasco: MC finds contrarian statements

Air India pee-gate fiasco: MC finds contrarian statements

A four-page report written by the crew of the Air India flight in which a passenger allegedly urinated on another casts a radically different light on the matter. It suggests the complainant may have been instigated by a co-passenger and that her subsequent behaviour cast a doubt about her “intent and integrity”.

A 72-year-old lady flying business class on Air India’s NYC-Delhi flight AI 102 on November 26, 2022, had said that an inebriated fellow passenger had come up to her seat and urinated on her.

The crew report on the incident, which was obtained by Moneycontrol, shines a light on two key aspects:

1) Potential instigation by co-passenger S Bhattacharjee, who was seated on 8A, in front of the complainant (on 9A), and next to Shankar Mishra, the accused person (8C). Bhattacharjee had requested an upgrade to first class on boarding, but was turned down.

2) A statement of the passenger on 9C, right next to the complainant, which ran contrary to the statement made by the complainant.

Read: MC Exclusive | Air India seating plan uncovers a potential twist in pee-gate

The crew’s report

According to the report, this is how things broadly panned out:

The complainant came to the galley, said her clothes were wet because another passenger had urinated on her and that she required cleaning. She proceeded to take off her clothes in the galley itself.

She was given towels, Savlon (an antiseptic), slippers, socks, and requested to change in the toilet. The crew helped her change into the nightwear provided by the airline. The crew cleaned and sanitised her seat, the area around, her shoes, and the bags of the 9A and 9C guests.

She demanded that her shoes be dry cleaned, but was told that there wasn’t any dry-cleaning facility on board, according to the report.

She also said she wanted Air India to compensate her for her soiled belongings and was contemplating filing a police complaint. The complainant said that on landing, Bhattacharjee would arrange for a reporter to call her, said the report.

The crew, in their report, said they promised to extend all possible assistance to her and said there would be a wheelchair for her on landing.

Although she didn’t ask for her seat to be changed, she was moved from 9A and settled in 12C, given a blanket and pillows. She thanked the crew for their help and then fell asleep.

Later, the accused person met the complainant and apologised, according to the report. They worked out a compromise and he promised to get her things dry cleaned and delivered to her, and also agreed to pay a compensation of $200.

Subsequent parts of the cabin crew report throw up instances that again contest the complainant’s version of the incident and what happened later.

1) A couple of hours before landing, the complainant said the crew hadn’t cleaned her shoes and bags properly and they hadn’t attended to her promptly. This was after she had praised the crew for all their help.

This change of stance happened immediately after she “interacted with guest 8A,” namely Bhattacharjee. Earlier, while boarding, Bhattacharjee had asked for an upgrade to first class. He was told that it was against the airline’s policy to provide in-flight upgrades.

As soon as Bhattacharjee became aware of the incident, he refused to sit next to the accused (8C) and again demanded an upgrade for himself and for the complainant. It’s pertinent to note that the complainant never asked for an upgrade herself and was already asleep in her new seat by this time.

Bhattacharjee stated, "All the allegations made in the Air India internal report are baseless, I did not ask for upgrade, I submitted a written compliant by myself to the crew before landing ( I have a copy) , and I stood for the right reasons to help a elderly lady in distress."

2) The passenger in 9C, the seat right next to the complainant’s seat, provided a statement that contradicted what the complainant said “later on”, according to the crew report. Moneycontrol could not independently verify this statement.

3) Although the complainant was provided with a wheelchair on priority on arrival, when the crew met her in the customs hall, she complained that she wasn’t given a wheelchair on landing.

When a crew member said that she had seen the complainant sitting on a wheelchair, the complainant changed her stance and said she had left the wheelchair as she was in a hurry.

4) The complainant then alleged that the accused person had gone back on his word about the compensation. The accused person arrived on the spot and the conversation between them reflected that she was not being honest as he showed her the proof of payment, according to the crew report.

Air India had no comment for this article.


Based on the lady’s complaint, an FIR was lodged against Mishra, charging him under IPC sections 294 (obscene act in a public place), 354 and 509 (outraging a woman’s modesty), 509 (creating a nuisance in public while intoxicated), and 510 (drunken misconduct in public), and under section 23 of the Aircraft Rules (assault or intimidation aboard an aircraft).

Following the FIR, Air India put Mishra on its no-fly list for 30 days and suspended the entire crew for not attending to the complainant properly. Mishra was fired from his job. He was eventually arrested in Bengaluru and was remanded to 14 days of judicial custody.

Mishra’s lawyer, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, told a Delhi court that Mishra couldn’t have committed the act because he couldn't have accessed the complainant’s seat. He added that the lady may have soiled herself.

Nickey Mirchandani
Nickey Mirchandani NICKEY MIRCHANDANI Assistant Editor at Moneycontrol. She’s a presenter and a stock market enthusiast with over 12 years of experience who loves reading between the lines and scanning through numbers.
first published: Jan 17, 2023 02:56 pm