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Saturday 6 June 2020

Pilot who evaded breath analyser test gets anticipatory bail

Kathpalia had operated a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru without undergoing the mandatory pre-flight breath analyser test on January 19, 2017.

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to an Air India pilot who was suspended for allegedly violating aircraft rules, including evading a breath-analyser test and forgery.

Justice Mukta Gupta granted relief to the pilot, Arvind Kathpalia, on his plea apprehending arrest in a case lodged against him on the direction of a lower court.

The pilot is accused also of tampering with evidence, criminal conspiracy and intimidating a doctor working with the airline in January 2017.

The court had earlier restrained police from taking coercive steps against Kathpalia, who was removed as the director of operations of Air India last November after failing to clear a pre-flight alcohol test, with the government citing “serious nature of the transgression and (his) failure to course-correct”.

According to police, Kathpalia had operated a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru without undergoing the mandatory pre-flight breath analyser test on January 19, 2017.

Further, even in Bengaluru, he refused to undergo a similar test, police had said.

Later, on his arrival in New Delhi, he had allegedly gone to the Pre-Flight Medical Examination Room and made a false entry in the Pre-Flight Breath Analyzer Examination Register for the flight he had operated.

The Delhi Police had opposed his anticipatory bail plea saying it was not a normal case of forgery as the consequences were grave and he also threatened the doctor on duty.

A trial court had earlier directed the police to lodge the FIR for alleged violation of aircraft rules, tampering with evidence and intimidating a doctor working with Air India in January 2017.

Police had alleged that Kathpalia has also issued threats and intimidated Nitin Seth, on-duty doctor, with a view to coerce him to retract his statement given in inquiry conducted by aviation regulator DGCA, where he had alleged that the Captain had manipulated the record in the register.

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