In another incident earlier this week, a 24-year-old woman was arrested for smoking on an Indigo flight 6E-716 from Kolkata to Bengaluru.
A Non-Resident Indian (NRI) passenger flying from London to Mumbai on an Air India flight was arrested on arrival at the Mumbai airport on Saturday, March 11, for allegedly behaving in an unruly manner after he was caught smoking in the plane’s lavatory. According to officials, Ratnakar Dwivedi had to be physically overpowered and administered two injections to calm him down as he allegedly tried to open the plane’s emergency door and also allegedly assaulted a fellow passenger. Ratnakar works as a management professional in the United States, and is a US citizen of Indian origin.
The passenger was charged with a bailable offence and permitted to leave. However, he was asked to appear on Monday before the Andheri metropolitan magistrate’s court, where a chargesheet will be filed. A Mumbai police officer said that his passport has been impounded and the US consulate will be informed about him.
This is the second incident in a week of a passenger being caught smoking in the lavatory of an Indian aircraft. On March 5, a 24-year-old woman was arrested for smoking on an Indigo flight 6E-716 from Kolkata to Bengaluru.
Ratnakar has been booked by Mumbai’s Sahar police station under section 336 (act endangering life or personal safety of others) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and relevant sections of the Aircraft Act, according to news reporters.
Ratnakar’s blood sample has been sent for tests to ascertain if he was drunk at the time of the incident. A senior cabin crew member of the Air India London-Mumbai flight AI-130 said in her complaint that after Ratnakar went to the lavatory, the fire alarm went off within minutes. On hearing the smoke alarm, she said that she alerted the pilot and other crew members. When the lavatory door was opened from outside, Ratnakar was found holding a cigarette lighter and used abusive language when asked to be seated, the complaint said, according to the Times of India.
After remaining quiet for some time, Ratnakar got up from his seat, went to the emergency exit and allegedly tried to open it. As the crew and other passengers tried to restrain him, he allegedly turned violent and hurled abuses, before he was eventually overpowered and taken to his seat, the report added.
According to a crew member, a doctor traveling on the flight examined Ratnakar who said that he was on medication. However, when his bag was inspected, no medicines were found but an e-cigarette was allegedly discovered. The doctor reportedly administered two injections to Ratnakar but as the man remained agitated, his arms and legs had to be fastened to his seat, the crew member said.
An Air India spokesperson said that the aviation regulator has been informed about the incident and full cooperation is being extended in the ongoing investigations.