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Government files criminal complaint against Continental Airlines for frisking Abdul Kalam

This story is sure to raise the hackles of many in India as former President APJ Abdul Kalam is a highly respected and loved figure.

Upon the directions of the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has today registered an FIR (First Information Report) against Continental Airlines for carrying out pre-embarkation body check of the Former President of India, Shri APJ Abdul Kalam, in gross violation of BCAS Circular No.6/2008 which exempts specified VVIPs/VIPs (Very Very Important Persons) from pre-embarkation security checks.

As per the FIR, on 21 April, 2009, Shri Abdul Kalam was travelling by Continental Airlines Flight CO-083 from IGI Airport, New Delhi to New York. As he proceeded towards the aircraft, the staff of Continental Airlines carried out frisking of Shri Abdul Kalam in contravention to the BCAS rule even as the CISF (Central Industrial Security Force) personnel pointed out that he was exempt from such checks. An enquiry was ordered into the matter which established that the airline staff had wrongfully, under the direction of their Security-in-Charge, Country Director and Station Manager, carried out pre-embarkation body check of Shri Abdul Kalam.

A Show Cause Notice was issued on 9 July, 2009 to the Station Manager of Continental Airline asking as to why action should not be taken against them under Section 11A of Aircraft Act, 1934. The airline was given seven days to respond. No reply has been received from the airline till date. The BCAS has, thus, registered an FIR with the IGI Airport Police Station against all the concerned staff of the Continental Airlines under Section 11A of Aircraft Act, 1934 for wilful violation of the directions issued by BCAS.

One will have to go deeper in to why Continental Airlines security staff insisted on performing the check even after being told by the CISF of Mr. Abdul Kalam’s status.

About Devesh Agarwal

A electronics and automotive product management, marketing and branding expert, he was awarded a silver medal at the Lockheed Martin innovation competition 2010. He is ranked 6th on Mashable's list of aviation pros on Twitter and in addition to Bangalore Aviation, he has contributed to leading publications like Aviation Week, Conde Nast Traveller India, The Economic Times, and The Mint (a Wall Street Journal content partner). He remains a frequent flier and shares the good, the bad, and the ugly about the Indian aviation industry without fear or favour.

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