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IndiGo deplanes doctor, aviation minister Suresh Prabhu orders probe

SNS | New Delhi |

Minister of Civil Aviation and Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu on Tuesday ordered a probe into an incident concerning deplaning of a passenger by budget carrier IndiGo after he complained about mosquitoes in the aircraft.

“I have ordered an enquiry into the incident of off-loading passenger Dr Saurabh Rai by IndiGo at Lucknow Airport,” Prabhu tweeted.


The passenger, identified as Saurabh Rai — a  vascular surgeon from Lucknow who works for the Narayan Hospital in Bengaluru, was deplaned on Monday at the Chowdhary Charan Singh International Airport, Amausi in Lucknow, after he complained to the IndiGo staff about the presence of mosquitoes in the plane.

Rai, a resident of Indiranagar in Lucknow, also alleged that he was held by the “collar” by the flight staff and pulled out of the plane after he complained.

He alleged that not only did the air crew get physical with him, they also told him that mosquitoes are everywhere in India and if he had so much of problem with them, he should leave the country and settle abroad.

According to Rai, he had a 6:05 am flight to Bengaluru from Lucknow and that there were many mosquitoes hovering around his seat (22C) and some kids on the plane were also crying after being bitten by them. Many co-passengers, he claims also complained of the menace after which he told a flight attendant Sonali that she spray something to ward them off.

“I was told that she will apprise her seniors about the plaint but nothing happened and the plane doors were about to be closed when I raised the matter again only to face half a dozen security staff of the airlines who literally threw me and my cabin luggage out of the aircraft,” he alleged.

He also said that the video he shot of the mosquitoes on his mobile was also forcibly deleted by the airlines staff.

He had three surgeries lined up in the day at Bengaluru and hence he took a 12:30 pm flight later, he informed.

IndiGo, however, said in a statement that Dr Saurabh Rai had used threatening language, while speaking with the flight attendants and was offloaded for his unruly behaviour.

The carrier further said Rai also instigated other passengers to damage the aircraft, using words such as ”hijack”.

“As matter escalated after the closure of the aircraft doors, he attempted to instigate other passengers on board to damage the aircraft and used words such as ‘hijack’. Hence, keeping in mind applicable safety protocols crew apprised pilot-in-command, who decided to offload him, said the IndiGo airlines.

At IndiGo, there is no compromise on matters of safety and security. Further, we would like to mention here that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has prohibited disinfectant fumigation in aircraft while passengers are onboard, added the airlines in their reply.

This is not the first time the budget-airlines, IndiGo, has been news for all the wrong reasons.

Last year, a video went viral showing IndiGo ground staff allegedly assaulting a passenger. The video was captured by another ground staff. The issue was also raised in Parliament.

In November last year, Olympic champion PV Sindhu had slammed IndiGo airlines ground staff on social media for allegedly misbehaving with her during her flight from Hyderabad to Mumbai. World number 2 shuttler, Sindhu, had said that she had experienced an ‘unsatisfactory’ treatment en route her flight to Mumbai.

(With agency inputs)