Arnab Goswami’s mid-air ambush: Kunal Kamra sends legal notice to IndiGo, demands apology and Rs 25 lakh compensation for flying ban

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Comedian Kunal Kamra has sent a legal notice to IndiGo airlines seeking a public apology from the carrier for its decision to ban him for six months after he ambushed Republic TV founder Arnab Goswami, who was travelling in the same flight. Kunal’s lawyer, Advocate Prashant Sivarajan, Partner at Lawmen & White, has also demanded a compensation of Rs 25 lakh for causing mental pain to the comedian and to recover financial losses incurred on account of cancellation of his scheduled shows.

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According to the Livelaw website, the legal notice has asked IndiGo to ‘revoke the suspension of Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo Airlines for a period of 6 months with immediate effect.’

IndiGo had issued a six-month flying to Kunal minutes after Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri raised objections to his act of ambushing the BJP’s ally, Arnab Goswami, in mid-air. A statement by IndiGo had read, “In light of the recent incident on board 6E 5317 from Mumbai to Lucknow, we wish to inform that we are suspending Mr. Kunal Kamra from flying with IndiGo for a period of six months, as his conduct onboard was unacceptable behaviour. Hereby, we wish to advise our passengers to refrain from indulging in personal slander whilst onboard, as this can potentially compromise the safety of fellow passengers.”

Kunal’s lawyer has asked the airline company to ‘tender unconditional apology towards him in all leading newspapers as well as electronic media and on all of the social media platforms currently being operated by the Airlines.’

As for the compensation, the notice has sought the payment of Rs 25 lakh on account of the ‘mental pain and agony suffered by him as well as losses incurred on account of cancellation of his scheduled shows and programmes in India as well as abroad on account of adoption of a totally illegal, arbitrary and high handed procedure which is against the extant DGCA CAR on the subject matter.’

Days after IndiGo announced a flying ban, the pilot of the flight in question had raised objections stating that Kunal’s conduct did not warrant such punitive measures. In his email to the IndiGo management, Captain Rohit Mateti had said that Kunal’s behaviour ‘while unsavoury, was not qualifying of a level 1 unruly passenger.’ He had said that he did not think Kunal’s action was reportable.

The video of Kunal ambushing Goswami mid-air had gone viral on social media platforms. Since Goswami is known to be a mouthpiece of the BJP-led government, Union Minister Puri, who heads the civil aviation ministry, had moved with lightning speed to direct airlines to take action against Kunal. Aside from IndiGo, SpiceJet, GoAir and Air India too had imposed a similar ban on the comedian.

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