Case against social media influencer for smoking inside SpiceJet plane
Social media influencer Bobby Kataria

New Delhi: The Delhi Police has registered an FIR against social media influencer Bobby Kataria after a video of him lighting a cigarette inside a SpiceJet flight surfaced, officials said on Tuesday.

Kataria was booked for alleged violation of security and safety measures based on a complaint filed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport Police Station on August 13 by Jasbir Singh, Manager Legal and Company Affairs of SpiceJet, they said.

In his complaint, Singh alleged that Balwant Kataria, alias Bobby Kataria, had uploaded pictures and videos on his social media accounts wherein he was seen with a lighter and smoking a cigarette onboard SpiceJet flight SG 706 from Dubai to Delhi in January 2022, a senior police officer said.

Kataria, a bodybuilder, has 6.3 lakh followers on Instagram.

“On the basis of the complaint, a case was registered on Monday under section 3(1)(C) of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act 1982 at IGI Airport and investigation of the case is in progress,” the officer said.

Last week, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia had ordered a probe after the video surfaced on social media.

The airline’s spokesperson earlier said, “The video…was shot on January 20, 2022 while passengers were boarding flight SG 706 scheduled to operate from Dubai to Delhi. The said passenger and his co-passengers shot the video on the 21st row when the cabin crew were occupied with completing the on-boarding procedure. None of the passengers or crew was aware of the act. The matter came to the airline’s notice on January 24, 2022 through social media posts.”

“The matter was investigated thoroughly in January 2022 as soon as the video was brought to our notice and a complaint had been filed by the airline at the Udyog Vihar police station in Gurugram as we have our headquarters in Gurugram. Upon seeking a response from the police authorities in Gurgaon, we were advised on August 12, 2022 that the matter does not fall in their jurisdiction and accordingly a complaint was lodged with the Delhi Police,” he said.

“The matter was also referred to an independent Committee constituted as per the provisions of Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) on handling of unruly passengers (not consisting of any SpiceJet employee) and a decision of the committee is pending,” he added.

Passengers are not allowed to carry lighter and smoke inside planes.

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