Retired army man arrested for molesting airline crew member

The 78-year-old touched the crew member inappropriately several times; when he touched her the fourth time while disembarking, she complained to the ground security, who took him to the police

In yet another incident that highlights how female crew members have to tackle misbehaviour from fliers, the airport police on Sunday arrested a 78-year-old retired colonel for molesting an IndiGo crew member four times during a flight from Kozhikode to Mumbai.

Balakrishnan Menon was to fly to Delhi for a conference on September 6. He chose to fly via Mumbai, and booked a ticket on IndiGo flight 6E-124 (Kozhikode to Mumbai). The flight took off at 11.40 am and landed in Mumbai around 1.20 pm.

Throughout the flight, the senior citizen, booked on seat 21C, touched the crew member inappropriately several times. It was as he was disembarking that he touched her a fourth time, after which she complained to the ground security staff.

Menon was then taken to the Airport police station, where an FIR was registered against him. The police arrested Menon and later released him on cash bail of Rs 15,000. ACP Suresh Vedak from Airport police station said, “The retired colonel claimed that he was having trouble speaking and couldn’t call out to her, so he touched her instead.

She warned him against doing so the first time, yet he continued to do so. We therefore registered an FIR under IPC section 354A (sexual harassment).” Officials said that Menon had confessed to having touched Shaikh four times.

An IndiGo spokesperson said, “He first touched her while she, as part of her job, was serving food. The second time the passenger touched her inappropriately using his elbow while she was passing by. He again did it when she passed by, and he did the same thing even while disembarking.”

Past incident
Just last week, mid-day had reported how a flier was offloaded from an IndiGo flight for clicking pictures of a female airline staffer without her consent (‘Flier offloaded for clicking female staffer’s pictures’, September 1). When she asked him to delete the photos, he began to argue instead.

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