Air India grounds crew over handling of unruly passenger who ‘urinated on woman’ during flight

Air India has issued show cause notices to four cabin crew members and one pilot over the handling of an unruly passenger who urinated on an elderly woman while drunk on the flight.

"Internal investigations into whether there were lapses by other staff are ongoing on aspects including the service of alcohol on flight, incident handling, complaint registration on board, and grievance handling," said the company chief executive officer Campbell Wilson in a statement today.

The Tata group-owned airline also grounded the staff, after facing widespread backlash following an incident on a flight from New York to Delhi, when a passenger, identified as Shankar Mishra, urinated on a female co-passenger.

The airline had earlier banned the man for 30 days, with social media users slamming it as not enough. A second similar incident occurred last month on a flight from Paris to Delhi, when an inebriated passenger urinated on an empty seat.

"Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground and is committed to taking action," Mr Wilson said.

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Meanwhile, police arrested the 34-year-old accused late on Friday night, after the airline filed a complaint on 4 January, about 40 days after the incident, reported The Times of India.

He has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody after the court said that his police custody was not required for further investigation.

"What’s the grounds for police custody? Just because there’s public pressure, don’t do this. Go by law," a district court in Delhi said, after police sought three days of custody.

The accused had been on the run, with a lookout notice issued to trace him.

Mr Mishra’s employer, American financial services company Wells Fargo, also terminated him, following the “deeply disturbing” allegations against him.

He worked as vice-president of the India chapter of the multinational firm, headquartered in California.

"Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behaviour and we find these allegations deeply disturbing. This individual has been terminated from Wells Fargo," the company said in a statement on Friday.