A senior Air India pilot, Rohit Bhasin, who also worked as regional director for the airline’s eastern region, has been suspended after he was accused of shoplifting a wallet at a duty free shop at Sydney while being on official flying duty there on Saturday.
“It has been reported by Regional Manager Australasia that you allegedly committed an act of shoplifting from a duty free shop at Sydney airport before the departure of flight AI301 of June 22, 2019, from Sydney airport for which you were rostered as one of the commanders. Without prejudice to any disciplinary action to be initiated against you and pending enquiry, you are hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect …,” according to an Air India letter sent to the accused.
In a statement, confirming the development, a spokesperson said: “Air India lays the highest stress on proper conduct of its staff and has a zero tolerance policy towards acts of impropriety. There is an initial report of one of its captains Mr Rohit Bhasin, who is also working as a regional director, picked up a wallet from a duty free shop in Sydney. Air India has instituted an enquiry into this incident and has placed the captain under suspension”.
As per reports, the suspended commander has been flying with Air India for over three decades and comes from a family of pilots. His father was a pilot too, as are his wife and son. He is also said to have flown former President Pratibha Patil on her foreign tours in Air India’s VVIP aircraft.
The letter by the flag-carrier suspending Bhasin also told him not to enter the premises of Air India or leave Kolkata, his station, without permission of the airline management. He was also asked to hand over all the identity documents issued by the company.