Thursday, December 15, 2011

MANGALORE, INDIA - Air Crash: 89 cases settled, Rs 66.92 cr disbursed

MANGALORE: Nineteen months after the horrific crash of Air India Boeing IX 812, which resulted in the death of 158 passengers, the legal counsel for Air India - Mulla & Mulla - Mumbai, has settled 89 cases, seven of them partially, as on date.  Kapil Aseri, chief finance officer, Air India, said a total of 82 cases have been settled on full and final basis and seven in part for an overall amount of Rs 66.92 crore, including the survivors. In the last three days, 11 claims were settled.

Advocate and solicitor Hoshang D Nanavati from Mulla & Mulla, told TOI the compensation claim process will commence after the Supreme Court proceedings in the first week of January next year. Abdul Salaam, father Mohammed Rafi (24) who perished in the crash, has approached the Apex court after a division bench of the Kerala High Court in August this year, allowed Air India's appeal and the set aside the order of the single judge holding that a minimum of one lakh Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) would be payable in respect of the death of each passenger.

Regarding the status of victims' families who have engaged the services of Swedish law firm, Nanavati said: ``It is not professional to deal with the cases until and unless they (foreign law firm) cease to act in the matter. It is for the claimant to decide. When we are satisfied (with proof) that they have withdrawn, we will commence claim settlement process. A mere affidavit from claimant will not do.''

Barring the families who have approached the foreign firm, there are about 25 families who are awaiting the Apex Court's verdict on this matter. Salaam's contention is that one lakh SDR (roughly about Rs 75 lakh at present exchange value) is the minimum. Air India Express observer R P Shahi, the former joint director general of Civil Aviation, said that the feedback from the families was they were satisfied with the process.

Compensation of Rs 9.40 Cr Disbursed in Three Days

Mangalore, Dec 15: It is learnt that during the last three days, compensation amounting to Rs 9.40 crore was disbursed to 12 families relating to last year’s crash of Air India Express flight from Dubai at the local airport.  Sources said that solicitor for Air India, Nanavati, continued to hold negotiations with families of the crash victims on Wednesday. But no settlements could be arrived at on Wednesday. As there has been a considerable decline in the number of families approaching him for a negotiated settlement, sources said Nanavati may leave the city on Thursday December 15 itself.

On Monday, the first day of this sitting, a cheque of Rs 12 lac was issued to one of the affected families, while two other families got Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 50 lac respectively. On Tuesday, cheques were issued for Rs 1.5 crore, Rs 80 lac, Rs 40 lac, Rs 1 crore, Rs 90 lac, Rs 50 lac and three cheques for Rs 25 lac each to three children of the same family, sources added. They said that the special leave petition (SLP), which seeks uniform compensation of Rs 75 lac to all the families of crash victims, will be taken up by the Supreme Court on January 3.  Those who have already received compensation in excess of Rs 75 lac will, in all likelihood, not approach the courts again for higher compensation package. The others have decided to wait for the outcome of the SLP before Supreme Court, before staking their claim for compensation.

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