Mumbai: Co-traveller comes forth to support writer Siddharth Sanghvi

29 November,2023 07:29 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Dipti Singh

City doctor issues written statement after reading mid-day’s report, says he was seated behind Siddharth Sanghvi and his behaviour wasn’t unruly

Sanghvi said an internal inquiry by the airline might be biased. Pic/Instagram


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A day after 'high' drama unfolded onboard Akasa Air flight QP 1395 (Goa to Mumbai), a fellow traveller has come forward in support of author Siddharth Sanghvi. After reading the news in mid-day, Mumbai-based senior oncologist and consultant cancer surgeon, Dr Ashok Mehta, on his official letterhead, provided a testimony mentioning that he was seated just a row ahead of Sanghvi and did not see anything as described by the crew.

Mehta stated in his letter that Sanghvi's behaviour was not "unruly" as alleged by the crew. The letter dated November 28 read: "I Dr Ashok Mehta was travelling on flight Akasa Air QP 1395 from North Goa to Mumbai on November 27 at 13.00 hours. I can vouch for the fact that Mr Siddharth Sanghavi, also on the same flight and seated in the row behind me, did not commit any unruly conduct whatsoever. He was peaceful and well-mannered." Mehta also attached his boarding pass with the letter as proof.


A copy of the official statement obtained by mid-day

When contacted, Mehta confirmed sending the letter in support of Sanghavi. He told mid-day that there was no way that Sanghvi was unruly. "I heard the talking but did not notice much. It was on Tuesday morning that I saw the article in mid-day and found out what happened. Sanghvi was sitting just a row behind me. My seat number was 5F and his seat was 7A. He was peaceful and well-mannered if you ask me," said Mehta, who is also a former chief of the department of oncology at Dr B N Nanavati Hospital and chief of surgery at Tata Memorial Hospital.

On Monday, Mumbai-based author Siddharth Dhanvant Sanghvi was held up at Mumbai Airport police station for four hours, following allegations by Akasa airline crew members, who accused him of referring to them as "stupid people". Sanghvi then contended that the incident constituted a breach of his privacy, asserting that the crew claimed to have overheard his remarks while he was in the lavatory.

While the Akasa staff filed a non-cognisable (NC) complaint in the matter, Sanghvi submitted a complaint to the airport police station against the staff, for sexual harassment and a violation of his privacy. Akasa Air's official spokesperson on Monday told mid-day that they will only respond to the allegations after an internal inquiry into the matter, which they have already initiated.

Meanwhile, Sanghavi said that this inquiry might be biased "…after all, the so-called witnesses are the co-workers of the accused. The former head of oncology at Tata Memorial (hospital) Dr Ashok Mehta was seated right ahead of me. He has written a letter of support after the article in mid-day. It's shameful that although 24 hours have gone by there's been zero response from Akasa. Even an unconditional apology would have gone a long way to abate the tension… basic human decency."

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