New Delhi: The frisking of former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at the Delhi airport was "absolutely unpardonable" and Continental Airlines of the US had been issued a notice for its action, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Tuesday.
The Delhi government filed an FIR--a police complaint--against the airlines on Tuesday evening.
"The frisking was absolutely unpardonable," Minister of State for Civil Aviation Praful Patel said in the Rajya Sabha. "Action will be taken in accordance with the sentiments of the house," said Patel, who has ordered a probe into the incident.
IANS reports Patel made the statement after MPs from several parties expressed outrage over Kalam being frisked and asked to remove his footwear as he waited on the aerobridge of a Newark-bound flight at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) recently.
"Continental Airlines has been issued a showcause notice under section 11A of the Aircraft Act for willful violation of the law," Patel said.
"The frisking or action per se was absolutely wrong. The former president and other such dignitaries are exempt from such frisking," he said.
After Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley raised the issue in the House during zero hour, Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan said: "It is the unanimous sentiment of the House that this is a very serious matter. I hope the government will take note and take appropriate action."
Patel also denied reports that security operations at the airport had been outsourced.
Congress member Jayanthi Natarajan said the incident was "outrageous".
CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, Samajwadi Party member Ram Gopal Yadav, BJP leader Prakash Javadekar, CPI’s D Raja and Maitreyan of the AIADMK too condemned the incident.
Continental Airlines said in a statement it was bound to follow aviation rules. “As all carriers flying to the USA, Continental must follow the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) procedures. TSA requirements impose a final security check in the aerobridge just before boarding the aircraft. This procedure is followed by all carriers flying to the US,” it said.
(With inputs from IANS and UNI)