Indian police on Saturday arrested a former bank chief executive on charges that he urinated on a female passenger during an incident on an Air India flight in November.
Shankar Mishra, who was vice president of Wells Fargo’s Indian branch at the time, faces charges including sexual harassment, obscenity and insulting the modesty of a woman, Indian news agency Mirror Now reported. Mishra will sit in custody for 14 days while police investigate the case further, but has applied for bail and a hearing is scheduled for January 11.
The first incident occurred on November 26 on an Air India flight from JFK Airport to New Delhi. An unidentified business class passenger, later identified by German newspaper DW as Mishra, drunkenly got up and urinated on a 72-year-old woman in the row in front of him.
The woman, who has not been identified, immediately informed the flight crew of what had happened and requested a change of seat. The crew told her they had no other seats available and refused to let her sit in first class, where some seats were open.
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The crew instead let the woman sit in the crew seat for two hours while they tried to clean the seat, which the woman said was still damp and “reeked of urine.” according to her complaint. She refused to sit in the seat and insisted that the police arrest the drunk passenger.
But Mishra sobered up and insisted on talking to the woman despite her insistence that she not see or talk to him. He “began to cry and apologize profusely” to the woman and begged her not to complain. The woman said she found it difficult to press charges “given his begging and pleading in front of me, and my own shock and trauma”.
The woman initially accepted compensation for her shoes and clothes, but later returned them, telling Mishra she didn’t want his money, and pressed charges and filed a formal complaint.
Air India has subsequently dismissed the four flight crew members and the pilot involved in the incident, while the airline conducts an official internal investigation into the matter. The crew faced harsh criticism for letting Mishra go without any repercussions.
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Wells Fargo, after learning of Mishra’s involvement, fired him and called the incident “deeply disturbing,” according to DW. Mishra then went on the run, evading the police since early December. He went so far as to switch off his mobile phone to avoid being tracked, but made a credit card transaction in Bangalore.
According to Indian daily The Hindu, the airline did not file a police report until December 28.
An Air India spokesperson told The New York Post that it “takes a very serious view of the incident, where a passenger behaved in an unacceptable and undignified manner on a New York-Delhi flight that caused extreme distress to a fellow passenger.”
“A police complaint has already been filed and Air India is committed to assisting law enforcement agencies as well as regulatory authorities,” the spokesperson added.
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Wells Fargo did not respond to FOX Business’ request for comment by press time.
Air India also suffered a second urination incident shortly after Mishra’s, when another drunk passenger on a flight from Paris to New Delhi urinated on an empty seat and another passenger’s blanket on December 6, Fortune reported.
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In another case, cabin crew isolated the passenger and notified air traffic control and authorities about the incident. Upon arrival, the police detained the perpetrator.
But the airline allowed the man to leave after “the victim and the accused came to an understanding” and the man apologized in writing.