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FIR filed on Air India pilot for refusing to take breathalyser test before flight


New Delhi, Sep 1: Senior Air India pilot and aviation regulator DGCA's Joint Director were booked by the Delhi Police for alleged violation of aircraft rules and tampering with evidence and intimidating a doctor working with Air India in January, 2017, an official said on Sarturday.

A FIR was filed against Arvind Kathpalia, who is also the director of Air India's flight operations, and Lalit Gupta, who is the joint director at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The FIR lodged on Friday came after a court heeded to a petition by the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA).

Representational photo

According to the ICPA, Kathpalia flew as the Captain of Delhi-Bengaluru flight AI 174 on January 19, 2017 without going through the mandatory breathalyser test. He did not take the test after landing at Bengaluru either, the ICPA alleged, despite being reminded about it. The report also mentions that Kathpalia then flew back to Delhi, again without taking a test.

Back in the capital, Kathpalia is said to have gone to the medical examination room and made false entries in a register meant to track pre-flight checks of all crew and pilots. According to DGCA rules, skipping these checks is regarded as testing positive for intoxication.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur Gupta ruled that Lalit Gupta be named as an accused in the FIR for allegedly covering up the actions of Mr Kathpalia.

The court took on record an action taken report (ATR) filed by the Delhi Police and said 'prima facie' cognisable offences were made out which required detailed examination and collection of evidence.

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