Gurugram, August 12
After a video of a man smoking inside a SpiceJet flight surfaced on the internet, the carrier aircraft on Thursday said that the action was taken as the passenger was put on a no-flying list by the airline for 15 days in February 2022.
However, the accused social media influencer Balvinder Kataria alias Bobby Kataria claimed that it was a dummy plane and it was a part of his shooting in Dubai.
"The video in which I was seen smoking is not a normal airplane, it was a dummy plane and that was a part of my shooting in Dubai. Taking lighter inside the plane is not allowed," said Kataria.
In the video, Kataria is seen lying down on the aircraft seat and lighting a cigarette and taking a couple of puffs.
In a statement SpiceJet said, the matter had been investigated thoroughly in January 2022 when the video was brought to our notice and a complaint had been filed by the airline with the Udyog Vihar police station in Gurugram.
"The video, the investigation had revealed, was shot on January 20, 2022, while passengers were boarding flight SG 706 scheduled to operate from Dubai to Delhi. The said passenger and his co-passengers shot the video on the 21st row when the cabin crew were occupied with completing the on-boarding procedure. None of the passengers or crew was aware of the act," the statement reads.
It further said that the matter came to the airline's notice on January 24, 2022, through social media posts.
"The matter was referred to the Internal Committee constituted as per the provisions of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on the handling of unruly passengers (not consisting of any SpiceJet employee). The said the passenger was put on a no flying list by the airline for 15 days in February 2022," the statement added.
Defending himself, Kataria said that the video in question is an old video shot in Dubai.
"The video in which I was seen smoking is not a normal airplane, it was a dummy plane and that was a part of my shooting in Dubai. I want to ask everyone; how can a lighter make its way into an airplane? It would be detected by a scanner. A cigarette still one can carry, but not a lighter. It was shot in 2019 or 2020," said Kataria.
Meanwhile, reacting to a viral video of a man smoking inside a SpiceJet flight, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said that there will no tolerance for such behaviour.
"Investigating it. There will be no tolerance towards such hazardous behaviour," Scindia said.
An investigation found that the accused Balvinder Kataria alias Bobby Kataria had travelled from Dubai to New Delhi via SpiceJet.
"The incident took place in January this year. Kataria boarded the SpiceJet flight from Dubai. A police complaint was lodged. Also, as per Civil Aviation requirements, an enquiry was conducted by SpiceJet. He was banned from flying on Spicejet flights for 15 days thereafter," said Scindia.
Kataria landed in Delhi on January 23 and the video is not available on his Facebook and Instagram pages now.
"Balvinder Kataria had travelled from Dubai to New Delhi on the SpiceJet flight. He landed in Delhi on January 23. The video is not available on his FB/Insta page. The action was taken by the aviation security earlier," The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security told ANI.
Soon after its release on social media platforms, the video sparked a controversy regarding the security and law and order around the airline's norms.
Another case has also been registered against Kataria at Dehradun's Cantt police station for allegedly consuming liquor in the middle of a road in Uttarakhand.
A case has been registered under sections 342, 336, 290 and 510 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 67 IT Act, said Uttarakhand Police.
Talking about the Dehradun video, Kataria said that the video is not from Uttarakhand.
"I do not even remember when was it recorded and even that must have been a part of my shoot, I did not consume alcohol and that video is not from Uttarakhand," he added.
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