New Delhi: America’s Continental Airlines has apologised for frisking former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at the Delhi international airport three months ago.
The airlines called the incident a misunderstanding/inconvenience after the government filed an FIR against it for allegedly breaching Indian aviation rules. "Our intention was never to offend Dr Kalam or the sentiments of the people of India. Continental Airlines takes great pride and is honoured to have flown a respectable leader such as Dr Kalam," said the statement.
Kalam has refused to comment on the security check he was asked to undergo by Continental’s employees before taking a flight to Newark, US, on April 21.
Kalam was made to take off his shoes, hand over his belongings for scrutiny, and asked to wait before being frisked. Rajya Sabha MPs on Tuesday condemned the security check and Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel called the incident “unpardonable”.
India has a list of VIPs exempted from routine security checks and frisking. This is applicable even when they are travelling by commercial flights.
The list includes 18 VIPs including the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, former Presidents, Lok Sabha Speaker, Chief Ministers, Chief Justices of High Courts and the Cabinet Secretary.
Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel reiterated that legal action will be taken against Continental Airlines for violating Indian law by frisking former president APJ Abdul Kalam.
"The Bureau of Civil Aviation security on getting information, conducted a preliminary inquiry on July 9. After that an FIR was lodged on July 21. Whatever legal action has to be taken will be taken," Praful Patel said.