Raipur: Congress MLA Vinod Chandrakar from Mahasamund assembly of Chhattisgarh has been accused of humiliating a female staff of Air India at Raipur airport on August 7 after she did not allow him to board the plane as he reached airport late, as per the Air India’s (AI) initial report.
“The boarding card of the MLA was taken out in advance at 17:36 hours. All the passengers were boarded except five passengers. Repeated announcement was made at the security hold area (SHA) and also check-in area at 18:12 hours,” says the report.
The report further adds: “One passenger reported and informed that others were on way. Airport manager, Raipur, (female staff) of Air India along with Air India Air Transport Services Limited (AIATSL) in-charge, other Customer Service Agent (CSA) waited for them.”
“Passengers did not show up till 18:13 hours, and all Airport Manager (APM) and others had gone to flight; trim was taken out at 18:15 hours; flight door closed at 18:18 hours, and flight took off 18:30 hrs,” the Air India report says.
When ANI contacted Congress MLA Vinod to take his version about charges against him, he said over the phone: “I am an MLA. I know how to behave with a person. I reached the airport at around 17:30 hrs.”
“My baggage was checked twice. Due to security checking of my baggage, I reached the final gate at 18:05 hrs. Due to twice security checking of mine and my staff baggage, we got late to reach the last gate. The female staff of Air India was shouting at me and did not allow us to board.”
The Air India subsidiary company (Alliance Air) flight 9I-728 on August 7, from Raipur to Ranchi, was scheduled for 18:30 hrs but the MLA was denied to board the plane by Air India staff at Raipur Airport as he reported late at the airport.
“I challenge the female staff of Air India if she can prove what she has alleged against me. I urge the AI administration to check CCTV footage of the airport,” Vinod added.
The initial inquiry report further stated that after the departure of the flight, the passenger came in the check-in area - started shouting at the top of voice in public.
He started saying that he is MLA of Congress which the female staff was not aware of until then. Her identity card was grabbed. The MLA spoke to the station manager with her mobile. Later he refused to hand over her mobile phone.”
“Lady staff -- Airport Manager (APM), Raipur, was escorted by the CISF and another staff to airport back gate cargo and walked more than 2-km late night at 20:30 hours. In drizzling rain as being a lady saving herself she travelled alone 24-km to home in late hours in fear,” states the report.
According to an Air India official, “the staff acted as per the standard operating procedure (SOP) at the D-20 boarding gate and tried to avoid the delay of the flight as flight was having onward connection scheduled to Ranchi/Kolkata sector. Any delay would have consequential delay effect on further schedule.”
When contacted, Air India spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said: “The matter came to our notice. Air India management has taken it seriously and ordered detailed inquiry. After the final inquiry report, further action will be taken.”
A few years back ANI had reported that an MP from Shiv Sena Ravindra Gaikwad had hit an Air India employee repeatedly with his sleeper as he was denied to travel in a business class. Later he was barred from flying with the Air India.