WhatsApp row Jet pilots body NAG to hold emergency meeting today

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Mumbai: Jet Airways domestic pilots' body National Aviator's Guild (NAG) will on Wednesday convene a meeting to lay out an "action plan", after the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) filed a complaint against 34 pilots for allegedly posting "obscene" messages on a WhatsApp group against its officials.

Acting on the complaint, the Delhi Police yesterday questioned 13 pilots, some of whom belonged to airlines like Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir, and were later let off. However, their mobile phones were being examined by a team of IT experts.

The NAG, which claims representation of around 1,000 of the Jet Airways 1,500 pilots, would also coordinate with the two pilot unions of government-run Air India -- ICPA and IPG -- over the issue, a Guild member had said on Tuesday.

The emergency meeting will be held in Chennai today to chalk out its action plan following yesterday's development.

"This is unprecedented as our members (pilots) were called by the DGCA for a meeting for some other issue and they had no idea that this was for some thing," the Guild member said.

In a rare move, aviation watchdog DGCA has filed a police complaint against 34 pilots of Jet Airways, IndiGo, SpiceJet and GoAir for allegedly posting "obscene" messages on a WhatsApp group against its officials.

The member also said the pilots were questioned by the police even without any "preliminary inquiry" into the alleged complaint or a prior information to them about the complaint.

The Guild has taken up the issue with the airline management and it is waiting for its "response" as well, he added.

"The pilots have been called in for questioning on the basis of a complaint by the DGCA. They have been called in for an inquiry," a senior police official said earlier in the day.

Apart from the original complaint, the DGCA is said to have also submitted to the officers at Lodhi Road police station a "screen shot" of the usage of objectionable, obscene language.

"The text used in the message was highly objectionable, unpardonable and obscene language was used against family members of DGCA officials," a senior DGCA official said.

"Unconditional apology has come from respective airline managements."

On their part, the airlines which employ these pilots have said that they are fully cooperating with the police over the examination of charges.

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

Jet Airways said: "The airline is extending its full cooperation to the authorities.

"Jet Airways will take appropriate measures, where necessary, as per the company policy and in compliance with local law," a spokesperson for the airline said.

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