Hyderabad: Former Chief Justice of Patna High Court and Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) chairman Justice L Narsimha Reddy on Wednesday lashed out at IndiGo airline, saying that it's being run by a "mafia" after the airline allegedly cancelled his ticket and resold it to him at double price.
"In relation to an inquiry ordered by the central government, I was scheduled to visit Dharwad on November 5, I was arranged to take a trip from Hyderabad to Bengaluru by a 4:55 am flight and from there my connecting flight was 8:20 am from Bengaluru to Hubli. I reached the airport on time and by 4:10 am I cleared the security check. By that, the display board didn't display that the flight boarding has started. We proceeded and by the time we reached VIP lounge it showed the boarding has started, we went inside and we purchased a water bottle, meanwhile within a short time they displayed final call, immediately we proceeded in a hurry to board the flight at 101 gate, by the time we reached, there was no announcement and not even final call and the gates closed" Justice Reddy, narrating the incident, told ANI.
"We asked them that even after reporting in time how can you close the counter, they responded by saying it was a base flight since it is starting in the morning, they entitled to leave twenty minutes in advance. Later, I contacted a GMR official at Delhi for help and he contacted another official and they tried but couldn't help. Indigo official suggested me to take the next flight," he added.
Reddy further claimed that the flight left six minutes in advance.
"Since the meeting which should be attended by me is going to take place in Dharwad, so, I took the next flight and reached Bengaluru to catch the connecting flight but there I noticed that my connecting flight from Bengaluru to Hubli was cancelled. Initially, IndiGo officials asked me Rs 1000 to restore my ticket and they collected Rs 4000 from me." claimed Reddy.
The CAT Chairman stressed that it is a sector to which Udaan applies and on November 5 and 6 the flight rates were hardly Rs 2,000 but the airline cancelled his ticket and sold the same ticket to him at double price. "This is completely fraud and cheating of highest order," he stated.
"I am thinking of filing a criminal complaint alleging fraud taking it to the notice of the DGCA, Ministry of Civil Aviation and I also verified whether this type of practices can be brought to the notice of the IATA. Because nowhere in the world we come across this kind of cheating and if that is done to a person like me, we can easily understand what they are doing to the common passengers taking advantage of the rush," he explained.
Justice Reddy further said, "This is their typical practice, they trash the passenger, they physically attack them, we can prepare volumes about the frauds that are committed by them and when everything becomes clear they come forward with an apology and try to wash their hands. They are minting crores of money with fraudulent practices."
The CAT Chairman added that when this entire incident took place he felt very helpless.
"When this all was happening with me, I felt so helpless and I was finding whether the whole of it is being operated by a mafia because you will not see where from the force is being operated, you will only see the result of it. It is not good for the country which is governed by the rule of law," he said.
The reaction from the Chief Justice of Patna High Court came after he alleged that he was left stranded at the Hyderabad airport by IndiGo airlines despite having a boarding pass.
However, IndiGo airlines has issued a statement and apologised to Justice Reddy.
"We have contacted Judge Reddy to express our apologies. IndiGo is committed to courteous and hassle-free service for all of our customers and we sincerely regret that we failed to meet our service standards in this situation. We are reviewing our processes to prevent a similar occurrence in the future," the statement read.