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34 pilots in a soup over 'obscene comments' against DGCA on whatsapp chat

This, following a DGCA draft proposal to increase pilots' notice period from six months to a year

Aneesh Phadnis  |  Mumbai: 

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Tuesday filed a police complaint against 34 pilots from private airlines for abusing a senior official in a WhatsApp group chat.

Based on the complaint, ten pilots from were questioned by Delhi police on Tuesday. No charges were framed against them and pilots were let off in the evening.

Tension between pilots and the has been on a rise following a draft proposal to increase pilots' notice period from six months to a year. Upset over the proposed rules several pilots complained to the regulator while others vented their frustration on social media and WhatsApp chats. One such group chat with obscene comments against a senior official triggered the action.

"has filed a complaint (against pilots) for making remarks against our officials on social media. It is for the police to take any action," Director General of Civil Aviation said in a text message response. Along with Jet Airways, pilots from GoAir, IndiGo and have been named in the complaint. The airlines apologised to the following the complaint.

The had summoned ten pilots from on Tuesday who had wrongly referred to a joint director general Lalit Gupta as joint director in their email protesting against protesting a proposed regulation on crew notice period. The regulator directed the airline to check the mental alertness of pilots since they could not even quote his designation properly. The pilots were asked to submit apology letters and also called for a meeting to the regulator's office today.

The pilots were accompanied by the airline's senior vice president (operations) Sudhir Gaur. What transpired in the meeting is not known but ten pilots were taken to Lodhi road police station for questioning.

" confirms that a few of its cockpit crew were called to record their statements by local authorities in response to a complaint. The airline is extending its full co-operation to the authorities. The matter is under investigation and we are therefore unable to comment further. will take appropriate measures where necessary as per the company policy and in compliance with local law," the airline said in a statement.

"We are looking into the charges and extending full cooperation to in this matter. Basis the findings of our internal enquiry, we will take appropriate action," IndiGo said in an emailed response.

"No has written any derogatory or obscene message against any official or made any comments on the draft CAR. One of our pilots had just forwarded some WhatsApp messages to a few friends and colleagues," said.

"had called pilots for the meeting. We had not issue with them meeting the but now the matter has taken a different turn. We will continue to support our colleagues and have contacted our lawyers for help," said Capt Sam Varghese, committee member of National Aviators Guild.