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Air India chief summoned over delay in probe into sexual harassment case

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.

Air India chief Pradeep Singh Kharola

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.

The air hostess has alleged that she had been harassed for the last six years by the senior executive, describing him as a “predator” and equal, if not worse, than Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood filmmaker charged with sexual misconduct by leading actresses.

“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 said in her letter, dated May 25.

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.

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.


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