Press Trust of india

Air India suspends its regional director for allegedly shoplifting at Sydney airport

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New Delhi, Jun 23: Air India has suspended its Regional Director for East, Rohit Bhasin, for allegedly shoplifting a wallet from a duty-free shop at the Sydney airport, officials said Sunday.

Bhasin, who has also been barred from entering Air India premises without permission, was rostered as one of the commanders (pilots) of AI301 flight, which was set to depart at 10.45 am (local time) on June 22 from the Sydney airport for Delhi.

“There is an initial report of one of its captains Mr Rohit Bhasin who is also working as a regional director picking up a wallet from a duty free shop in Sydney. Air India has instituted an enquiry into this incident and has placed the captain under suspension,” a spokesperson for the airline said.

The suspension order issued by the airline on Saturday stated: “It has been reported by regional manager Australasia that you allegedly committed an act of shoplifting from a duty free shop at Sydney airport before the departure of flight AI301 of 22nd June, 2019, from Sydney airport for which you were rostered as one of the Commanders.”

The airline spokesperson said, “The incident happened around 6.30 am IST at Sydeny and suspension order was served on the captain at the airport itself on landing of the Sydney-Delhi flight around 7.30 pm. Very quick and exemplary action has been taken.”

“Without prejudice to any disciplinary action to be initiated against you and pending enquiry, you are hereby placed under suspension with immediate effect,” the order stated.

Besides barring from entering premises, the order also directed him to surrender his identity card.

“You will not enter the premises of Air India Ltd without written permission of the management…You will surrender your PIC/ Company identity card to Regional Security Head, Air India Ltd, Kolkata,” it said.

The airline has also directed him not to leave his station (Kolkata) without written permission of the management, nor engage in any employment or avocation.

“You will not be eligible to any wages except the subsistence allowance as per rules with immediate effect,” it also said.

The spokesperson said, “Air India lays the highest stress on proper conduct of its staff and has a zero tolerance policy towards acts of impropriety.”

Meanwhile, the airline has given charge of Bhasin’s duties to another official — Sanjay Misra.

In a notification, it said, “Sanjay Misra, General Manager (Commercial), Eastern Region, will hold current charge of the post of Regional Director, Eastern Region in terms of Service Regulation 21, in addition to his own duties. The current charge arrangement will be personal to him and without prejudice to right of his seniors.”

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