A sacked executive of US banking giant Wells Fargo accused of urinating on a fellow passenger aboard an Air India flight has been arrested, a police spokesperson said Saturday. Shankar Mishra, the former vice president of the bank’s Indian operations, was on the run from authorities after an elderly woman complained about the November incident to the airline’s management.
Media reports said Mishra had switched his phone off but remained in touch with his friends over social media and made a credit card transaction in India’s IT capital Bangalore, which gave away his location. He was being brought to capital New Delhi where police are investigating the allegations, the reports said. A police spokesperson in Delhi confirmed Mishra’s arrest to AFP without giving any other details.
Wells Fargo said Friday its employee had been sacked after the “deeply disturbing” allegations came to light. “Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behavior and we find these allegations deeply disturbing,” the company said in a statement. “This individual has been terminated from Wells Fargo,” it added, without naming Mishra or specifying his position. The bank said they were “cooperating with law enforcement and ask that any additional inquiries be directed to them”.
Mishra was reportedly drunk during the journey from New York to New Delhi on Nov 26 when he allegedly unzipped his pants and urinated on a 72-year-old woman seated in business class. In a statement released by his lawyers and reported by local media before his arrest, Mishra said he had already settled the matter by compensating the woman at the time of the incident. “The WhatsApp messages between the accused and the lady clearly show that the accused had got the clothes and bags cleaned on November 28 and the same were delivered on November 30,” the statement read, according to India Today.
The airline said it had failed to properly address the incident and was reviewing its policy on serving alcohol during flights. “Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground and is committed to taking action,” chief executive Campbell Wilson said in a Saturday statement. The airline, recently bought by the Tata Group conglomerate after decades under state control, has faced severe criticism for its handling of the woman’s complaint. India’s aviation regulator admonished its management for not reporting the incident at the time. “The conduct of the concerned airline appears to be unprofessional and has led to a systemic failure,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement.