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Jitender Bhargava writes: Air India’s Internal Committee report in peegate incident has multiple flaws

The committee failed to do its homework. It did not know that Seat No 9B did not exist on the flight in question

January 24, 2023 / 05:54 PM IST
Air India would do well to introspect whether the report meets the high ethical standards of Tatas.

Air India would do well to introspect whether the report meets the high ethical standards of Tatas.

Last week, the Internal Committee constituted by Air India to examine the incident of a traveller peeing on a co-passenger declared the alleged perpetrator, Shankar Mishra, as ‘unruly’. In the normal course, such reports from Internal Committees signal the end of the issue. However, in this case, the committee has erred and glossed over facts in such a way that Air India must review it to ensure that bloomers aren’t repeated.

The committee itself was set up following the regulations of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.  It comprised a retired district and sessions judge, N.K. Goel, as chairman; it had a representative from a different scheduled airline as member — Indigo’s Director of System Training, Pratik A Sen; and a representative from a passengers’ association — Sethu Vaidyanathan, VP - Northern Region, Air Passengers Association of India.

Phantom Seat No 9B

But this committee did not live up to expectations as a cursory perusal of its report shows. Not only did it not do its homework, but it also allowed a perception to be created that the report was tailor-made to support a certain narrative. The biggest and clinching evidence for this argument is its statement about Seat No 9B which casts a huge shadow on the credibility of the report.