New Delhi: Air India has constituted a three-member committee to check the qualifications of all its pilots after a CNN-IBN expose how a pilot is flying the national carrier using forged papers.
Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said that all those including any insider involved in the fake pilot licence scam would not be spared.
Former Air India Executive Director (Communication) Jitendra Bhargava said that the airline faces enormous pressure in the selection of pilots and sometimes money plays a huge role.
"In DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation), it's all mechanised. It couldn't have taken place without the connivance of someone within the DGCA. In Air India considering the huge numbers of applications for jobs, there is enormous pressure and I would not hesitate to say that money could not be playing a part," said Bhargava on Monday.
CNN-IBN has also accessed papers from the US Federal Aviation Administration and DGCA that show that an Air India pilot has been flying the national carrier using forged documents. More than 50 pilots are being investigated for fake degrees and licences.
Documents with CNN-IBN show that pilot Arjun Giare was caught cheating when he appeared for his Instrument pilot rating at the fort Worth Aviation testing centre in the US in November 2000.
The US Federal Aviation Administration cancelled his licences and flying hours logged in the US for violating the FAA rules. His appeal was also turned down.
But that did not stop Giare from getting a commercial pilot license in India. He was issued a showcause notice by the DGCA for forging his class 10 marksheet.
In the certificate his date of birth has been mentioned as April 2, 1981 but an earlier certificate showed his date of birth as April 2, 1980. His colleagues claim that it was done to meet the minimum age limit for becoming a pilot. During the inquiry he surrendered his licence. But now he is back as an Air India commander.
Two pilots - Air India Captain JK Verma and Indigo's Parminder Kaur - have already been arrested on charges of fake licence. Two pilots - Meenakshi Sehgal of Indigo and Swaran Singh Talwar of MDLR - are a also suspected of having fake licences. However, both of them are absconding.