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FIR filed against airline staff

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: As the controversy over the frisking of the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here echoed in Parliament, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security on Tuesday registered a First Information Report against Continental Airlines for carrying out the pre-embarkation body check.

The BCAS said the U.S.-based airline’s action was in violation of its circular No.6/2008, which exempts specified VVIPs/VIPs from pre-embarkation security checks. As per the FIR, Dr. Kalam was travelling by flight CO-083 from New Delhi to New York on April 21. As he proceeded to the aircraft, the airline’s staff frisked him, though Central Industrial Security Force personnel pointed out that he was exempt from such checks.

An enquiry established that the staff had wrongfully carried out the body check, under the direction of their security-in-charge, country director and station manager. A show-cause notice was issued on July 9 to the station manager, asking why action should not be taken against them under Section 11A of the Aircraft Act, 1934. The airline was given a week to respond, said a release issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry.

As there was no reply, the BCAS registered an FIR with the IGI Airport police station against the staff.

Fernandes demands apology

The former Defence Minister, George Fernandes, who was subjected to a similar check while he travelled to the U.S. as a Minister in the NDA regime, has demanded that the U.S. publicly apologise to India for the “crass and disrespectful behaviour” towards Dr. Kalam.

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