“Sometimes, over-confidence kills you,” said the Delhi High Court Thursday, while pulling up Air India’s former director (operations) Arvind Kathpalia. The senior pilot has been accused of violating aircraft rules, including evasion of pre-flight breath analyser test. While ordering his presence in person on December 20, the next date of hearing, the court remarked: “People like him are not worth being permitted to operate flights.”

The court was hearing Kathpalia’s plea for anticipatory bail, which he moved apprehending arrest in connection with a case of tampering with evidence, criminal conspiracy and intimidating a doctor working with the airline in January 2017. The case was registered against Kathpalia on a trial court’s directions, which had already rejected his anticipatory bail plea.

Last month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended Kathpalia’s licence for three years after he failed a pre-flight alcohol test — his second violation of alcohol test rules.

According to police, Kathpalia operated a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru without undergoing the mandatory pre-flight breath analyser test on January 19, 2017. At Bengaluru as well, he refused to undergo a similar test, police alleged. Later, on his arrival in New Delhi, he allegedly went to the pre-flight medical examination room and made a false entry in the pre-flight breath analyser examination register for the flight he had operated. Police also opposed his anticipatory bail plea saying it was not a normal case of forgery as the consequences were grave, adding that he had also threatened the doctor on duty.


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