Air India chief suspended

24 May 2001

NEW DELHI – Air India (AI) managing director Michael Mascarenhas has been suspended. Sources have indicated that some other senior AI officials responsible for causing a loss to the airline were also likely to be suspended.

The suspension is believed to be the result over payments to a London-based travel agent, Welcome Travel. Late last year, AI's acting Chief Vigilance Officer, M.B. Sagar, had recommended some of the airline's top officials, including Mascarenhas, be placed under suspension to enable an investigation into allegations of undue favours shown to the travel agency.

Deputy managing director, J.N. Gogoi will take up temporary charge.

Mascarenhas was quoted by news agencies as saying that he would challenge the move.

"The order is highly irregular, clearly motivated and has been based on charges framed with obvious mala fide intentions. I am seeking legal advice and will challenge it in an appropriate court of law," he said.

Mascarenhas was to retire at the end of November this year.

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