CEO behind bars for checking on his BOM – DEL flight

All you frequent flyers, it may be a great idea to not use aviation codes for your next flight. Earlier this week, the Indian CEO of a US-based IT company was arrested at the Mumbai airport when he was waiting to board his flight to Delhi, and then over to Rome. He was eventually heading to Virginia.

The incident happened on December 31, 2017, when Delhi and north India was engulfed in thick fog, and hence, flight movements through the day were massively delayed.

Mumbai Airport Terminal 2

Mumbai Airport Terminal 2

The authority’s version of the incident states that he called a toll-free number from an airport phone booth and told the operator, “bomb hai”. They seem to believe that he wanted to stall flights to be able to make it to his flight to Rome. The operator said she heard bomb hai before hanging up and alerted the higher-ups.  He was off-loaded with his family from the plane at 4:30 pm, after the people on the case went through the CCTV footage to see him make the call on the phone booths.

His version, however, is that he was just checking for his flight status, “BOM-DEL status”. Further, he hung up on the operator due to trouble in the connection. He has been charged with criminal intimidation and intent to cause fear or alarm to the public and was released on bail of INR 30,000. He pleaded non-guilty.

Mumbai Airport Air India

Mumbai Airport Air India

He told the court that the CEO called the toll-free number of the airport control room at 2:30 pm to find out about the status of his flight. He asked for the BOM-DEL status. 

What beats me is the logic of how things are being construed here. How was an international flight in Delhi going to be delayed by asking such a question at Mumbai? Also, is the police overreaching their authority by laying their finger on a US national?

Mumbai police are known to overreact under pressure. For instance, they recently put a man in mourning returning from a funeral behind bars because a starlet alleged he molested her with his feet onboard, that too in a business class seat, from behind.

And while the police do have the CCTV footage, don’t they tape all the calls to the control room so that they can find out what really happened, because that is the only way they’ll know if the person was guilty or non-guilty?

Another thing that beats me is that they were so certain about the fact that the bomb call was a hoax, that they did not take the plane to an isolated bay and check it out fully, but just deplaned the chap and his family, and had the plane on its way.

Who do you think over-reacted in this situation? The cops or the CEO? And whose fault is it that BOM-DEL is the busiest route in the country?

About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. What exactly is “calling the control room” on a toll-free number?
    Does this mean the control tower?

  2. “Also, is the police overreaching their authority by laying their finger on a US national?”

    What a gem? Think before you type and think before you think!

    • The author seems to believe Indian police are supposed to apprehend suspects who are Indian citizens only. By that logic, I could go to US, do anything without worry of US cops laying their fingers on me.

  3. Why is an American IT CEO using a pay phone to make a phone call to check a flight status when he probably has three smart phones with internet connectivity (that I’m sure he knows how to use)?

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