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WCD Ministry summons Air India chief over delay in probe into sexual harassment case

The air hostess had alleged that she was sexually abused by a senior official, whom she described as a “predator” and equal, if not worse, than Harvey Weinstein.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Women and Child Development Ministry has summoned Air India Chief Pradeep Singh Kharola next week, seeking explanation behind the delay in completing probe in a sexual harassment case, a senior official said.

Union Minister Maneka Gandhi had directed the head of the Internal Complaints Committee of Air India to complete the inquiry in June.

The complaint of sexual harassment was lodged by an air hostess of the national carrier against its senior executive.

However, the inquiry has not been completed yet and the ministry has summoned Kharola on August 23 to explain the reason behind the delay, the official said.

According to a WCD Ministry official, Gandhi had also taken up the matter with Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu.

In a letter addressed to Prabhu and also marked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the air hostess had asked for appointing a “neutral” investigation committee to look into the incident.

Responding to the letter, the civil aviation minister had tweeted, “Asked Air India CMD to immediately address the issue. If necessary, will appoint another committee.”

The air hostess had alleged that she was sexually abused by a senior official, whom she described as a “predator” and equal, if not worse, than Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood film maker charged with sexual misconduct by leading actresses.

The air hostess wrote a letter titled as “Request for justice, sexual harassment and discrimination at the workplace by Air India senior executive” and posted it on her personal Twitter handle.

The woman wrote that senior executive is a predator and has sexually propositioned her, abused her, used abusive languages on other women in her presence, spoken of sexual acts with her and other women in her presence on office premises.

“This senior executive is a predator and has sexually propositioned me, abused me, used abusive languages on other women in my presence, spoken of sexual acts with me and other women in my presence in office premises”. He has insulted me and denied me positions and privileges after I rejected his advances and he had made my life a misery at work and continues to do so,” she wrote in her letter dated May 25.

The woman said that she would reveal the name of the executive if she gets an audience with the aviation minister.

The air hostess maintained that she had lodged a complaint with Air India last September and written to then CMD of the airline, but “none was forthcoming”.

She also accused the airline’s women cell of dragging its feet on the issue.

(With PTI inputs)