An executive at Wells Fargo’s operations in India was fired and is being held following allegations that he urinated on an elderly woman during a flight from New York to New Delhi.
On an Air India flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Indira Gandhi International Airport on Nov. 26, Mishra was “completely inebriated” and urinated on another passenger, according to a police report, which cited a letter from the alleged victim.
“He unzipped his pants and urinated on me and kept standing there until the person sitting next to me tapped him and told him to go back to his seat,” said the woman, who was seated in business class one row behind Mishra, according to the report.
The woman, who was not publicly identified by the police and described herself as a senior citizen, told the crew that she wanted Mishra arrested when they landed in India. But, she said, the crew brought Mishra to her “against my wishes.”
He apologized and begged her not to press charges, she said.
“In the face of his pleading and begging in front of me, and my own shock and trauma,” she said, “I found it difficult to insist on his arrest or to press charges against him.”
Mishra’s attorneys, Ishanee Sharma and Akshat Bajpai, said in a statement that Mishra “does not remember the details of the incident.” They added that Mishra was “very apologetic and respectful” toward the woman “when he woke up from his sleep” on the plane.
The two had reached an agreement for Mishra to pay for the woman’s belongings to be cleaned, the lawyers said, and Mishra paid her on Nov. 28. But the woman returned the money on Dec. 19, “which clearly reflects a malicious afterthought,” the lawyers said.
Wells Fargo said in a statement that it “holds employees to the highest standards of professional and personal behavior, and we find these allegations deeply disturbing. This individual has been terminated from Wells Fargo. We are cooperating with law enforcement and ask that any additional inquiries be directed to them.”
Mishra was a vice president of the bank’s operations in India and was fired on Friday, said Sharma, the attorney.
The month-long delay between the flight and Air India’s report to police has fueled criticism over how the airline handled the incident.
India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, said the airline’s conduct “appears to be unprofessional.” It has issued “show cause” notices to airline officials and the flight crew requesting that they explain “why enforcement action should not be taken against them for dereliction of their regulatory obligations.”
Air India chief executive Campbell Wilson said in a statement that the airline was “deeply concerned” about customers who have “suffered due to the condemnable acts of their co-passengers.”
“Air India acknowledges that it could have handled these matters better, both in the air and on the ground,” Wilson said. The crew on the Nov. 26 flight has been removed from the airline’s roster, he said, adding that internal investigations were ongoing over alcohol service and how employees handled the incident.
Campbell said Air India had refunded the woman’s ticket and held four meetings between staff and the woman in December. The woman’s family requested on Dec. 26 that the airline file a police report, which it did on Dec. 28, he said.
According to the report, the woman said that her clothes, shoes and bag were “soaked in urine,” and that the flight crew “refused to touch them, sprayed my bag and shoes with disinfectant, and took me to the bathroom and gave me a set of airline pyjamas and socks.”
She requested another seat but was told none was available. After she refused to sit in her soiled seat, the woman said, she was given a jump seat — a small seat meant for short-term use by crew — for the remainder of the flight.
Another passenger “who had witnessed my plight” noted that it appeared there were seats open in first class, but the crew informed her that the pilot had “vetoed giving me a seat in first class.”