According to the complainant, the Air India pilot was upset over DGCA’s SOP for anti-COVID measures concerning simulators.
Mumbai airport police have registered an FIR against an Air India pilot over allegations that he threatened and abused a senior official of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). A complaint was registered against pilot Rajneesh Sharma in this regard on June 3 by a deputy chief flying inspector with the DGCA in Mumbai.
In the FIR, pilot Rajneesh Sharma has been accused of acting with negligence likely to spread infection or disease, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult, and criminal intimidation.
Attempts to reach out to Captain Rajneesh Sharma and Air India did not result in a response.
In his complaint to airport police, the DGCA official claims that he was filling up forms in the briefing room after conducting the DE Standardisation test of an AI captain in B-777 simulator at the Air India facility when Captain Rajneesh entered. The pilot’s mood and body language seemed aggressive, added the complainant.
According to the DGCA official, Captain Rajneesh was upset over DGCA’s SOP for anti-COVID measures concerning simulators. The official claims he told the pilot that the SOP was based on the Government of India’s guidelines to limit the spread of Covid-19, but Captain Rajneesh challenged the SOP nevertheless.
In an aggressive tone, Captain Rajneesh Sharma reportedly told the DGCA official that he is overworked since the airline is forcing him to attend office during the nationwide lockdown.
The DGCA official told India Today that it took the Mumbai airport police almost a month to register the FIR despite the fact that the Air India pilot was hindering the duties of a government official. “He came to hit me. He came to my face and he wasn’t wearing a mask and his spit particles fell on my face,” the DGCA official alleged.
When asked if the airline or the Captain reached out to him post the incident, the DGCA official denied any initiative from the national carrier. “In 45 years of my career in airports, Air India, and the DGCA, I have never come across such an incident in my life. I have spent 17 years in the Air Force. I wish I had a video recorder and show whatever happened to people,” the official said.
He added, “I don’t know what his (pilot’s) mental state was. But if a person can behave in such an irritating fashion can he be safe to fly? I have written that in my report. I have said in my report to Air India and the police that one day this person will be responsible for causing an accident. Such acts are detrimental to air safety.”
“I am a heart patient. I would have had a heart attack then. God is my witness for 10 minutes my heart was pumping so badly that I was just numb. I was then given water and then I didn’t talk as my heart was beating so much. I want to take it to the logical conclusion now so that such an incident doesn’t repeat itself in the future. If we go to the court let the whole world know that such people cannot get away with such acts. A larger problem needs to be addressed,” the 65-year-old DGCA official told India Today.