Accused Of Shoplifting Wallet At Sydney Airport, Air India Regional Director Suspended
On June 23rd, Air India suspended Rohit Bhasin, Senior Air India pilot and regional director for East, on the charge of shoplifting a wallet from a duty-free shop at Sydney Airport. However, Bhasin has denied the charges, claiming a misunderstanding. The incident happened as Bhasin was to fly AI 301 from Sydney to Delhi.
Pilot Denies The Charge
Bhasin has also sent an image of the bill to the media, and it shows a payment of 124 Australian dollars against the purchase of a jacket, that he took along with a wallet.
Captain Rohit Bhasin, who had joined the airline’s Calcutta office in June 2016 as regional director for eastern India, told the media that he had handed over the wallet and a jacket to a lady assisting at the counter for billing. During that time, he received a call from his wife saying he had become a grandfather. He didn’t realise that he had not paid for the wallet as he was overwhelmed with joy.
Bhasin told the media that he was in the cockpit when he received a call from his airport manager in Sydney, informing that a policeman was waiting for him.
Bhasin had immediately informed the airport manager to come and take the wallet. After he handed over the wallet, the policeman spoke to him over the phone and Bhasin told him that it was a mistake and completely unintentional.
The cop replied that he did not want to delay the flight and the next time he was in Sydney, they would talk to him and clarify the case. After landing in Delhi, Bhasin informed his chairman but was immediately victimised and suspended, without the probe being concluded.
Suspension Order Issued
The suspension letter to Bhasin reads: “It is reported that you allegedly committed an act of shoplifting from a duty-free shop at Sydney airport before the departure of flight AI301 of 22nd June 2019.”
It adds, “Without prejudice to any disciplinary action to be initiated against you and pending enquiry, you are hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect. You will not enter the premises of Air India Ltd without written permission of the management. You will surrender your PIC/Company identity card to Regional Security Head, Air India Ltd, Kolkata.”
The suspension order has put many restrictions on the pilot.
Air India has ordered Bhasin not to vacate his Calcutta station without written permission from the management. His duties have been reportedly transferred to Sanjay Misra, General Manager, Eastern region. The pilot has also been asked to submit his identification card.
Dhananjay Kumar, Air India’s spokesperson, told the media, “Air India lays the highest stress on the proper conduct of its staff and has a zero-tolerance policy towards acts of impropriety.”