Mumbai: National carrier Air India has removed a senior executive from the post of general manager for alleged involvement in a sexual harassment case. The ousted executive was accused of sexual harassment by an Air India air hostess, who had also written a letter to civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu in this regards in May. As per a airline notification issued last week, general manager for flight dispatch (headquarters) will hold the additional charge of the GM-IFS (HQ). “General manager flight dispatch will hold the additional charge of the post of GM(IFS), headquarters…the duty assigned to GM(IFS) will be notified in due course,” the Air India general manager (personnel) said in a notification dated August 21.
When contacted, an Air India spokesperson said that the person who till now was holding the charge of GM-IFS is a senior pilot and he is now back into flying. The removal of the senior executive coincided with the summoning of Air India chairman and managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola by the women and child development (WCD) ministry to explain reasons behind the delay in completing probe in the case recently. The air hostess (victim) had also met WCD minister Maneka Gandhi, following which her ministry had sought a report from Air India in the case by June. She had alleged that she had been harassed for the last six years by the senior executive, describing him as a “predator” and equal, if not worse, than Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood film maker charged with sexual misconduct by leading actresses.
The airline had on last Friday informed the WCD ministry that there were 12 cases of alleged sexual harassment before its various internal complaints committees. In the letter, a copy of which was also marked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the air hostess had asked the government to appoint a ‘neutral’ investigation committee to look into the incident. Responding to the letter, Prabhu had asked Kharola to immediately address the issue and appoint another committee, if necessary.
“This senior executive is a predator and has sexually propositioned me, abused me, used abusive languages on other women in my presence, spoken of sexual acts with me and other women in my presence in office premises. “He has insulted me and denied me positions and privileges after I rejected his advances and he had made my life a misery at work and continues to do so,” she said in her letter dated May 25. The air hostess maintained that she had lodged a complaint with Air India last September and written to the then CMD, but “none was forthcoming”.