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Man charged for molesting sleeping woman on Air India flight to US

WASHINGTON: An Indian national allegedly groped a female passenger while she was asleep on a Air India flight from Mumbai to Newark in the US.

Ganesh Parkar, 40, appeared in a federal court in New Jersey on last week and was released on $50,000 unsecured bond and has been put under house arrest, reported Reuters.

According to the complaint, the incident happened on December 21, on board an Air India flight AI191.

During the flight, Parkar moved from his ticketed seat in the business class section of the plane to economy class and sat next to a female passenger seated in a centre row.

When the woman fell asleep, Parkar placed his hand on her private parts without her consent, the complaint alleges. She woke up to find Parkar touching her inapproprately and her yelled caught the attention of the flight attendants.

During the remainder of the flight, Parkar wrote two short notes to the victim in which apologized for a “moment’s stupidity” and stated “I acknowledge I was stupid”.

He wrote: “please do not let a moment’s stupidity on my part kill my children’s future. I beg of you. I know I should have thought of these things before… I acknowledge I was stupid. Please do not let everyone suffer because of me”. He also said that his daughter was only 11 and he had a “handicapped brother”.

“I wish I could rewind time and correct what has happened. But please do not let five minutes of stupidity kill what I have worked on for 40 years… Because of the immigration status we are in, it means punishment for all linked to me,” he wrote, according to the TOI.

The unidentified woman did not know Parkar and engaged in only limited conversation with the defendant during the flight. After the incident, Parkar was moved back to his original seat.

The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of two years in prison and a fine of up to USD 250,000.

With inputs from PTI