Dubai/Thiruvananthapuram, April 8
The de-boarding of a Kerala MP from an Air India aircraft today erupted into a major row with the Parliamentarian being accused of calling the pilot a “glorified driver” while the politician threatened to move Parliament’s Privileges Committee on the issue.
Charges flew thick and fast and denials followed with Rajya Sabha MP P.V. Abdul Wahab alleging “rude” behaviour by the pilot and the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) claiming that the IUMl leader “opened the cockpit door, entered inside and abused the pilot”.
But the MP, who was a resident of the UAE for the past 32 years, and shifted residence to Kerala after becoming a Rajya Sabha MP, told PTI after reaching Dubai he never entered the cockpit. An Air India official also denied that the pilot had spoken rudely.
Wahab and his wife were to fly from Kozhikode to Kochi from where they were to catch a connecting flight to Dubai but were ordered to disembark. The pilot also reportedly questioned an airline official why the plane was being delayed after they allegedly reached late. The couple reached Dubai by another flight.
Supporting the pilot, Capt Rajat Rana the ICPA said it would protest if any action was taken against him.
ICPA general secretary Capt Vikram Yadav told PTI that the MP was asked to disembark from the aircraft only after he “entered a totally restricted zone which is illegal.”
The passenger was abusing the pilot by calling him “a glorified driver” even on ground and had threatened to get him “grounded”, he claimed and asserted that “if any action is taken against the pilot, the ICPA will fully back him”.
When contacted, an Air India spokesperson said: “We are ascertaining the facts in view of different versions coming out on the incident”.
Captain Rana told reporters “I did whatever keeping flight security in mind. It had nothing to do with any personal remarks or anything”.
Earlier, an official of the airline in Kozhikode said: “The MP had disembarked from the aircraft on his own after an argument with the pilot”.
Denying that the pilot had behaved rudely towards Wahab, he said the MP had verbally complained about the matter and did not give anything in writing.
Wahad told PTI in Dubai that he would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the civil aviation minister Praful Patel and apprise them of the incident.
“I will also meet my leader (E Ahamad of the IUML) and then decide on the future course of action. After the meeting, we may decide to take the complaint or drop the matter,” he replied, when asked about his reaction on his course of action if the airline tenders an apology.
“If this is the kind of treatment that a Parliament member has to face then what would be the experience of the common man,” he added.
According to him, the issue is of arrogance of the pilot. “My only crime has been to defend the airport manager who was been humiliated by the pilot,” added Wahab. — PTI