A story that seemed too weird to be true just got weirder.
As Fortune reported yesterday, India’s aviation regulator scolded Air India this week for being “unprofessional” and “devoid of empathy” in its handling of a bizarre incident in late November, in which a male passenger allegedly urinated on a woman during a Nov. 26 flight from New York to Delhi.
Now that male passenger, who had traveled in business class, has been identified as a vice president at Wells Fargo. Indian police arrested the executive, Shankar Mishra, on Saturday.
The bank said in a statement sent to Fortune that it was cooperating with local law enforcement.
“Wells Fargo holds employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behavior, and we find these allegations deeply disturbing,” it added. “This individual has been terminated from Wells Fargo.”
In the statement, Air India said it “acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground.”
Mishra faces charges under Indian law of obscenity, sexual harassment, and insulting the modesty of a woman. According to the Hindu, a Delhi court sent him to 14-day judicial custody.
Air India, owned by Tata Group, said it banned Mishra from its flights for a month.
In India, news of the incident sparked widespread outrage on social media, with many criticizing the airline for not reporting the matter to police until weeks had passed.
The victim, whose name has not been released, wrote a complaint to Air India’s chairman the day after the event, demanding the immediate arrest of Mishra.
Air India said in its statement to Fortune that it acknowledged receipt of the letter and “commenced engaging in correspondence with the affected passenger’s family” on Nov. 30. It added that it began a ticket refund on Dec. 2 and convened various meeting in the following weeks. When the victim’s family requested on Dec. 26 that the airline lodge a complaint with police, it said, it did so two days later.
After the incident, the crew reportedly brought Mishra face-to-face with the victim against her wishes, and he begged her for forgiveness.
That didn’t go over well.
“In my already distraught state, I was further disoriented by being made to confront and negotiate with the perpetrator of the horrific incident at close quarters,” she wrote in her statement to the chairman, included in the police complaint from Air India.
She also complained about the way the crew handled the incident, including initially refusing her request to change seats and merely spraying her urine-soaked shoes and bags with disinfectant.
On Friday, India’s airline regulator reminded airlines to “sensitize” cabin crew and pilots on the topic of unruly passengers, who it said should be dealt with strictly. It added that complaints must be filed to aviation authorities promptly, and warned that noncompliance will “invite enforcement action.”
This story has been updated with the statement from Wells Fargo.
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